Written by Christina Brown, self-proclaimed social justice nerd, the Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission
As a child I never understood when my Grandmother’s use of the phrase “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Fifteen years after her passing I’ve begun to grasp this concept in multiple areas of my life, more specifically as it pertains to social justice work, with emphasis on racism. In the last few years, America has celebrated the anniversaries of various civil rights legislation, with emphasis on the progress we’ve made a society. While the revisiting and celebration of an era we know as the civil rights movement is crucial, there is a grave misunderstanding about how racism has historically and still operated within this country.
This lack of critical context has left many white folks specifically to believe that if they reject vocalizing racial slurs, then they are absolved from upholding and benefiting from racism. When racism is distilled down to this basic concept, the detrimental impact on people of colors quality of life goes unnoticed and therefore unaddressed. In other words, the societal expectation to quell racism with niceties, is paving our road to hell. However, there is hope for our city in particular if we decide to respond to racism courageously.
Courage requires that folks begin to reconcile with a history of racist violence against people of color, acknowledgement of how white folks by design have unearned advantages in our society, and commitment to not just “not being racist”, but to anti racism. This is what Rethinking Racism is calling on you to do. We know that being in spaces for a few hours at a time won’t completely eradicate inequity, but to forge ahead we must imagine a new path, to begin constructing it. We hope you join us.
The next installment of the Rethinking Racism initiative is co-hosted by IJPC, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and New Thought Unity and will take place on March 3rd. Please RSVP by clicking the link above.