By Jacque Sexton Braun
Jodi Picoult's novel, Small Great Things has changed the way we see ourselves and the way we see others. Read her take on racism in her Time Magazine interview and read her book, Small Great Things. It might change the way you see the world. And that might be a good thing.
"Here is the grievous mistake I had made for the majority of my life: I assumed that racism is synonymous with bias. Yet you could take every white supremacist and ship him off to Mars and you’d still have racism in the world. That’s because racism is systemic and institutional, but it is both perpetuated and dismantled in individual acts....It’s easy to see the headwinds of racism—the obstacles that make it harder for people of color to achieve success. It’s more challenging to see the tailwinds of racism—the ways that being white makes it easier to achieve success. We like to believe that we succeed because we worked hard, or because we were smart. It’s harder to wrap our heads around the idea that the reason we might have a job or have gained admission to a college is a direct result of the fact that a person of color was never given that opportunity. Admitting that racism has played a part in our success means admitting that the American dream isn’t quite so accessible to all. No wonder we actively avoid discussing racism—it requires us to completely restructure the fictional narrative we’ve created of our lives. But then again, unlike people of color, we don’t have to talk about race. For us, it’s not omnipresent and it’s not a matter of life or death. We avoid the topic because we can. Ignorance is a privilege, too....Once I started to see my privilege more clearly, I realized my role was to open the eyes of people who look like me....Yes, it is often awkward and uncomfortable. But you know, comfort isn’t an entitlement. In fact, many people of color feel uncomfortable every day. In other words—if starting this dialogue makes you uneasy, it means you’re doing something right."