After the events of the past week and the images we see of the protesting and rioting in some cases, America is asking itself some pretty tough questions. We are not going to cover them all here; I am not a Dr., I am just a Black man who has lived in many different places during my career and interacted with lots of different people. Only being in Maine for a short time and getting to know people, I have gotten to understand the scope in which the people who live here look through in comparison to other places where I have spent time. 

How Do I Teach My Children About Racism?

No matter who you are, the "avoid it, and it will go away" tactic never works, especially with the advent of TikTok Youtube and other sources. They (your children) will have questions about, and if you do not give them the answers, they will seek them elsewhere, and you may not like the result. Now is the not the time to fear the questions about why certain people are treated differently or what the N-Word is and why it's terrible to say. If they ask about your personal beliefs or if you have ever done anything that you may not be proud of in this regard, tell them and let them know what you learned as a consequence of that. When you were their age, you could see through your parents -- don't let them have to see through you. 

"Do all black people from Connecticut talk educated like you?"

Have I Confronted My Unconscious Feelings About Race? 

I do not believe that most Americans want to go out of their way to hurt me as a Black Man or my family or friends, sometimes however, people may react based on stereotypes or microaggressions, and they may not know they are doing these things.

When I lived in Vermont, I was out at a pub, and a drummer from a local band asked me. "Do all black people from Connecticut talk educated like you?" I had to assess where I was and remember that even though black people do live in Northern New England, there is not an abundant population so that I could be one of his only encounters. Was it racism? Yes, but not based on his malice, but rather ignorance. I told him that was not that case, and despite what the media portrays, we are not one monolithic group that walks and acts in unison. In the South and on the West Coast, I found racism to be more abrupt and intentional; you could feel the disregard for your well-being in those tense interactions, like when I lived on Main Street in Memphis and the Klan was having a rally on my street.

What Can You Do To Make Things Better?

Be the change you want to see in the world; you can do that attempting (I use that term loosely) to put yourself in another person's shoes. If you are a man, think about what a woman must go through. If you don't know, ask your mother, sister or wife, get feedback and apply what you have learned. If you have friends in other groups, don't just apologize for the way you feel 'your people' have treated them, ask them how you can be better and what changes they would like to see.

Before we can have a peaceful group conversation, with others, we need to be honest and forgive ourselves.