51 questions to get you started

The black community lost another one of its own recently. In responding to the outcry of support that the victim received on social media, I suggested that there were a number of ways concerned white people could be involved outside of social media campaigns that would be quickly forgotten. Rather than answer the specific question of what those things are, I’d like to ask instead the below series of questions to hopefully encourage some deeper thought about (the cumulative effects of) personal choices.

  1. What images of black people do you allow in your home?
  2. Do you watch movies that feature black actors and actresses as main characters but does not depict them in a negative light?
  3. Do you watch TV shows that feature black actors and actresses as main characters but does not depict them in a negative light?
  4. Do your kids consume black-positive media?
  5. Does you or your family regularly engage in any media consumption that does not center on the white experience?
  6. What “classic” item (song, game, show, musical group, singer, etc.) can you think of that wasn’t produced by a white person? Is this something you regularly engage with?
  7. Is everything you describe as “classic” white?
  8. Do you have black friends and family over your house and are you seen with black people in your neighborhood?
  9. Are you close friends with black people or are they bottom tier friends?
  10. Do your kids have any black friends?
  11. Do you have your kids in any extra-curricular activities that would expose them to friends who are from a different culture than they are?
  12. Do you have diverse races represented within your home?
  13. What neighborhood do you live in?
  14. What recognition of black history happens outside of February in your home?
  15. Where do you vacation? To places that center the European experience as superior?
  16. What kinds of situations do you put yourself in where you and your family are not in the favored position so that you might learn empathy?
  17. What black historical sites in the US do you visit as a family?
  18. Where do you shop?
  19. Where do you send your kids to school? Are they likely to be exposed to many children from different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds there?
  20. Where do you worship?  Are your kids likely to be exposed to other children from different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds there?
  21. What opportunities for integration are you exploring with your church or child’s school?
  22. Do you advocate for diversity within your organizations?
  23. Do you read books by or about black people that present them in a positive light?
  24. Do you read books to your children that are black-positive?
  25. How do you glorify violence in your home?
  26. How do you glorify personal rights or treat that as highest good within your family value system?
  27. Do you vote in local elections?
  28. Is your advocacy reactionary and does it require trauma to kickstart it or keep it going?
  29. Where do you land on personal gun laws? Do you write/call your elected official to share your opinion on these things outside of instances of gun violence?
  30. What kinds of toys do your kids play with? If they are human figures, do they all look like you or like the majority culture?
  31. Do you go to the mat for the dignity of a child from another culture within your family the same way that you would for your own child? (i.e. if you would be stern and willing to strain your relationship with family because they disrespected your kid, are you willing to do this for a brown/black kid?)
  32. Do you stay silent at off colored jokes? Do you laugh at them awkwardly?
  33. Do you consider diversity a factor when selecting where you work?
  34. Do you speak up for colleagues of color if you have any?
  35. How do you treat the people of color you work with?
  36. Do you work for known racists?
  37. Do you patronize stores owned by known racists?
  38. Do you support brands owned by known racists?
  39. What social media accounts of non-white people besides Lin-Manuel Miranda do you follow?
  40. What kinds of volunteer opportunities do you participate in that expose you to people of other cultures? That require you to work side-by-side with them rather than serve them?
  41. What kinds of volunteer opportunities do you encourage your children to participate in?
  42. When was the last time you were the only one of your kind in a room and felt comfortable?
  43. What hobbies do you have that bring you in close contact with people of other cultures?
  44. What black radio shows do you listen to? Podcasts?
  45. How many people of other cultures are present at your family get-togethers?
  46. How likely are you to let racist comments by family members go unchallenged?
  47. How likely are you to let racist comments by friends go unchallenged?
  48. How likely are you to let your own white preferences go unchallenged?
  49. How often do you pray about the racism in the US?
  50. How often do you pray about the racism you see in family or friends?
  51. How often do you pray about the racism that may be in your own heart?




3 thoughts on “51 questions to get you started

  1. HLC says:

    I appreciate reading through these questions. I do have a bit of confusion about a few things. First of all, I have some questions. Maybe I’m not necessarily the target audience, but I would love to have a better idea of who is. A sample question is this: what is a “white preference”? Is it the preference a white person has or is it referring to white people who avoid life’s diversity for the sake of blending in together like zebra? Also, what does it mean to have people of my “kind”? I’m an oddball no matter where I am or who I’m with, so I’m guessing my kind refers to the reference in Remember the Titans when people took each other at face value? I would love to see your deeper level questions for someone like me who thinks I appreciate people’s depth but most likely has blind spots. Maybe this could be a follow up blog post. Anyway, thank you so much for these questions and the time it took to write them!

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