Time for a change

  • Personal

So, it has been awhile since my last post. There have been a few major events to happen since then. Namely, a pandemic that changed the world as we know it and shook up everyone’s norms. Additionally, continued tensions of racism and systemic issues in the United States have finally been getting some attention.

I’m posting this a year after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. While I had many opinions at the time of his death and during the unrest that followed, I stayed quiet for the most part except for reflections with close family and friends.

It was a scary time to live here. I worried about my friends and acquaintances who were involved in peaceful protests. I thought about how my young son was seeing and interpreting all the unrest and the idea of race (which he had never thought of before). I was concerned for our neighbors and friends of color.

Mostly though, I felt like it was time for a change. But not just externally with systemic racism in my country, state, and city. Being a white male, I thought that some of the most useful change would be inward. What changes can I make personally? Where can I be of influence?

Things to do

Some things are more tangible than others. I’ve given to some charities to help those on Lake Street rebuild via We Love Lake Street and promote diversity in the developer community via Girls Who Code and All Star Code. My employer even matched donations to that one.

Speaking of my employer, I’m proud they’ve decided to take the initiative to find how they could be better. While I’m not directly part of that conversation, I can make my voice heard in my organization and promote it.

I do hope to see actual substantial change not just at my place of work and how we think about race, but all over the tech community. Doing things like recognizing Juneteenth is a start, but we do need to go beyond that in so many ways.

I’ve tried to become more aware of my own biases. Not only to people of color but elsewhere too. I’m following more minorities in the coding community. I’m trying not to let stereotypes make me jump to conclusions. I work on calling out others’ biases when I see it. I try to let people know I value them and their contributions. I’m paying more attention to local policy in my city, county, and our school district in regards to race.

Some closing thoughts

All those things aren’t enough. Not far from where I live another young black man, Daunte Wright, was killed during a traffic stop. A difficult reminder that we’ve barely begun any change. It also won’t come as fast as we may want it to.

We will all need to keep working at it. Every day. Particularly those white males, like myself, who have enjoyed the benefits that we were inherently given. We will need to remember to keep working at it and never stop.