I am a middle-class white woman living here in Maine and I am aware of the privilege I have because of the color of my skin. Beginning with this letter, I want to start a conversation about racial injustice. If I remain silent I am promoting the problem.

I read the newspapers and listen to the radio and know that racial inequities are alive and well. They are state-sanctioned and institutional, and part of our national fabric. I would change this fabric.

I would change the laws. I would change the language we use. I would legislate for reparations for harms done to black Americans. I would argue for free education to all black children, for public school curriculum that teaches all children about slavery and colonization.

I would stop the war on black youths, directing the funds currently used for prisons to be used instead for education, job creation and community building.

All of us have suffered by our treatment of black people. It is an American problem that can be solved by white people like me acknowledging our part in the situation, taking responsibility and choosing to change the conversation.

Susan Manning


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