I am the first person in the room to say…Guest Blogger Kelsey Kortebein

After a summer of racial reckoning in response to the death of George Floyd, Kelsey was moved to share her own family’s experiences with racial profiling and racism. As a white woman with a Black partner and children, she aims to use her storytelling and personal journey to provide an inside look into what multiracial families experience. It is her hope to enlighten, inspire and spur readers into action in the fight against racial injustice.

Kelsey and her Ghanaian partner have two children together and currently live in West Lafayette, Indiana. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and loves to write, play the piano, travel and spend time outdoors with her family in her spare time. Read below as she shares her thoughts.

I am the first person in the room to say…

As a white woman who loves a Black man and biracial children,that I have my own racist ideas to confront and actively unlearn every day.

Yes, you read that right.

Loving Black family members, friends and the Black community is not a token of immunity from holding prejudice and racism in our hearts.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know that confederate memorabilia are racist and painful reminders to the African American community.

I am the first person to say I didn’t understand that Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling was a signal of distress from Black Americans who are not granted the freedoms described in our National anthem.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know the KKK is deeply active and lynchings still occur.

I am the first person to say I didn’t know the policing system was not designed to protect Black people; in fact, it was designed to do just the opposite.

These devastating truths slapped me across the face, year after year during my relationship with a Black man, while my eyes slowly opened up to his world that I had no idea existed.

And if you are white like me, you probably didn’t know or don’t believe it either.

It’s easier to hold onto ignorance when we receive nothing but respect and protection when we call 911.

It’s too painful to accept the reality of police brutality when our loved ones are police officers.

No matter how many times I see racial injustice affect my family, I will never grasp the magnitude of trauma andchallenges that Black people face in America.

And you know what inexplicably painful thing twists the knife even deeper?

When your screams of pain are ignored.

When you’re heard, but no one believes.

When your babies are bleeding out in the streets, and people complain about buildings.

When your grief bothers and scares people.

When there isn’t a single thing you can do to invoke concern for your family the way other families are cared for.

When those who condemn you sing about unconditional love in church every Sunday.

When their representation of the Good Samaritan only applies to people who look like them.

When they flip tables over babies being murdered in the womb, but not for the babies that came out of your womb.

When it’s surprising once the screams, marching and fires echo and burn brighter than ever before.

And ultimately, when everyone is relieved as the world slips back into silence, and your pain can be ignored again.

Or until another George Floyd cries out for his mama underneath the knee of a white man, and your unending grief is condemned… once again.

I’m white.

I’ll never have the personal experience. I will always have a lot to un-learn and relearn. 

But if the truth breaks through to just one person, I will continue sharing what I’m learning through my own journey.

I’ll continue because I believe when we know better, we can do better.

And I’ll be damned if I knew better, and I still refused to do better.

-Kelsey Kortebein

You can find more about Kelsey at her blog https://kelseylkort.wixsite.com/blog

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