A Personal Apology to Black Americans

(Written a few days after the video for George Floyd’s murder was made public and the protests began). 

I kept thinking this week that our country owes you a formal apology, in addition to the corrective actions that are rightfully being demanded.

Then I realized I owe you an apology myself. 

To Black America,

I’m sorry it took me until 2 years ago, when I was 37, to really look at what it means to be White in America (and conversely to be Black). I will keep learning.

I’m sorry for how physically and emotionally exhausted you must be dealing with this day after day.  I will carry some of the weight of this fight from now on.

I’m sorry our country was built on your ancestors’ blood and sweat, but systematically prevents you from benefiting from it.  I will seek out Black businesses to support, causes to continue donating to, and find ways I can use my privilege to change the system.

I’m sorry I’m just really seeing it now.  I will not look away.

I’m sorry for every time you have to worry your child will not come home safe. I wish I could take that pain away from you, and I’ll do everything I can to protect them when they go into the community.

I’m sorry you have to infringe on your children’s innocence to teach them about racism.  I will teach mine, too.

I’m sorry for every microaggression I inflicted, not understanding its impact. I will continue to educate myself so I don’t add to the stack of injustices you face as you go about your day.

I’m sorry you’ve had to fight so hard and feel like no one was listening or caring.  It took too long, but I – and many who look like me – are listening now.I’m sorry you have to live in a system designed to incarcerate and kill you and your loved ones. I will record, intervene, advocate, and vote until that system is dismantled.

I’m sorry I just started using my voice and dollars recently. I will not stop.

I’m sorry I’ve been complicit in allowing this system to continue. I will do better.

I’m sorry for every time someone tells you to change your tone, focus on the positive, or points to a successful black person to counter your reports about racism/ white supremacy. I will correct them when I see/ hear it.

I’m sorry for all the messages we both receive from the media about who you can and can’t be as a Black person. I will work to be aware of this conditioning within myself so I can counteract it.

I’m sorry for anything or anyone who implied you are unworthy or less than human.  I see you as whole and worthy of the best things life has to offer, and will amplify narratives that support that view.

I’m sorry for all I still have yet to learn and for all the mistakes I will make.  I will keep going.

I’m sorry it took video after video and hashtag after hashtag for me to take outward, public action. I will not let you down again.

With Love & Action,
Jen Pourvasei


Fellow White People:

If you want to join me in taking more action, here is a list of things to do: https://bit.ly/3cf4pIt from @Medium.  I’m committed to making a habit of doing at least one a week.  This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you want to join me in deepening your understanding of how white privilege and white supremacy are a part of your life, purchase the book Me & White Supremacy by Layla Saad and dig in.

You can also follow Layla Saad @laylafsaad,  Rachel Cargle @rachel.cargle, No White Saviors @nowhitesaviors, and Ibram Kendi @ibramxk on Instagram to learn that way. (Remember to listen/ learn, and not ask them to teach you individually what they each already have already created resources for you to learn from). 


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