From a White Mom to a Black Mom

I will never truly understand your experience.

I have never given much thought to the color of my skin,

Except to wish it were a little browner in the summer.

I’ve never had to think that my race will cause others to prejudge me,

Except of course by giving me the benefit of the doubt.

I am buoyed by this automatic trust.

It provides a little extra (unearned) wind in my sails.

It gives me peace of mind and confidence.

When I am pulled over by police.

When I walk into a store.

When my son goes out at night.

I am not always aware of this boost,

But I would certainly feel its absence.

Like returning to earth from zero-gravity.

My easy movements would feel heavy and exhausting.

Obstacles would appear before me instead of magically evaporating.

My mind would be consumed not by my ideas themselves,

But by how they would be received.

I have been thrown off balance at times by the uneven playing field.

When I hesitate before talking about my kids in a work setting.

When I am the only woman at the table.

When I’ve felt too sexy or not sexy enough.

When people address my husband or my male coworker first.

When I question my value as a professional and as a mother.

The cloak of patriarchy is stifling.

But it doesn’t compare to the smothering combination of patriarchy and white supremacy.

I will never truly understand your experience. 

But I will listen to you.

I will believe you.

I will support you.

And I will celebrate you.

Not only because oppression against one of us enables oppression against any of us.

But because we share the same divine spark within,

And you are my sister in humanity.

Jennifer Seeker Conroy worked for ten years as a reporter, anchor, and producer at television stations in Missouri, Iowa, and Oregon. In 2009, she moved back to her home state of Wisconsin and went on to earn an MBA from UW-Madison. Jenny now works in product management at CUNA Mutual Group and lives in Madison with her husband Tim, three sons, a daughter, two cats, and a dog. She's an avid runner, reader, and writer, and is passionate about supporting causes that benefit women and girls.

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