Writing the World Free- an Origin Story

I knew when I started that this book could either be absolutely ineffective or it could end racism as we know it, forever.

As a black woman, I’ve lived with racism, talked about racism, learned about racism and looked for solutions to racism.

So from the beginning I wanted this book, to be for white people.  The white people who think all prejudice is bad. Who are nice and polite. And who are only offensive without meaning it, or noticing it at all. This is a book for those well-meaning White People with PowerTM.

But I didn’t know all of them, personally. Could I still speak to the whole race?

I hosted a focus group to help me find out: How should I talk to white people about race? 

I knew I would have to get this right on the first try.

We started by giving racism a shape. The shape represented a common definition of racism. Our racism had to have a head and a body. Could we all agree?

Everyone had an opinion to give. We decided that Racism was a big, translucent, circle, with many sets of eyes and a tail.

Next I asked everyone to imagine a new world. One without racism. I asked them to illustrate that world using as many sticky notes as they needed:

“How big is it? Is it on this planet? What kind of beings live there? What lives there?”

There were flowers, and people, and singing and colors, words like justice, equality, love and peace and a weird silence while we all drew things that already exist.

When everyone had put their new world sticky’s onto the chalkboard rendering of old world racism, I asked my group what they thought was stopping us from reaching that world.

…to be continued…

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