“You say you want a revolution; you better free your mind instead,” said John Lennon back in the 60s. I never realized how prophetic that lyric was until our recent upheaval about racial discrimination.
For whatever reason, it is hard for some white people around my age to see their own complicity in systemic racism. The textbooks we learned from, the rhetoric we espoused conspired to make us think we are color blind and that prejudice is a thing of the past. Many of the complaints blacks are facing us with now (like incarceration rates, police brutality, and housing red-lines) are things I never knew about or never faced.
In order for a revolution in love and acceptance to occur there will have to be a revolution in the minds of white people. What we learned will have to be unlearned, and that is hard. Teachers know it is much easier to teach a new idea for the first time than to have to un-teach something that has been learned wrong and replace it with the correction.
That’s why it will feel like a revolution in the white mind to admit that we harbor unacknowledged prejudices. Until we stop defending our righteousness with “I don’t see color,” “The police have always been nice to me,” and “Some of my best friends are black,” we will not be able to progress. It will take a mind revolution.