- Jun 8, 2008
In the wake of mass protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S., a racial equity expert explains what white people can do to help fix racial injustice.
Dr. Stroman said, "This is no time in particular for white people to feel shame, blame or guilt. Anger is real. But we can't move forward, we can't collaborate if we're stuck in that mindset."
Stroman teaches the acronym ACT: Acknowledge the injustice; Community organize; and Take heed of the past.
"We can't move forward until we understand what happened in the past. And that's why we are where we are today," Stroman said.
She suggested the books, "White Fragility"; "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and "The Color of Law" as a primer on how inequity in America became systemic.
But, she also warned to be careful with the language we use, like white friends calling their closest black friends to ask if they're okay in this moment.
"Don't ask that question," Stroman said. "Because no, we're not okay. Ask if we're safe. Just do a check-in. But don't ask the question, 'are you ok?' because it gets us right back into that space of trying to explain what's going on and what are feelings are."
And with emotions running high in daily protests in central North Carolina and beyond, ABC11 photojournalist Dearon Smith eased from behind the camera with a question about his own tense confrontation with a black protester this week.
"He basically looked at us and said we don't understand," Smith explained, unsure of what to say back.
"So there's grief right now and a lot of pain and anger," Stroman said. "So as opposed to going toe to toe with this person who is very emotional, you can look at him in the eye and say, you're exactly right. I don't understand. I have not lived in your shoes. I have no idea what you're going through. But I'm here to learn.""