Before I answer today’s query, I need to thank everyone for all the positive feedback on my debut “Dear Lori“ column. I appreciate the responses, the encouragement and yes, the new questions! I plan to answer them as soon as I can.
Now, I’ll get to the number-one, hands-down, most-popular question I’ve been asked for over four years ever since my original 2016 post about Jason’s white privilege Facebook question to his Black and biracial friends…
[All letters are published verbatim and without corrections. Only the names have been changed.]
Hi! I just read your article about the facebook post. I GOTTA know if the white friend responded and if so, what did he say? Would you mind making a post/article about that? LeKeisha
Thank you for writing in! You are far from alone in wanting to know if Jason responded and if so, what he said. There’s a reason why I’ve never really answered that question until today though — I didn’t have one.
Well, not a good one, at least in my estimation. Because the only response from Jason I ever saw was an indirect one in my feed when I shared a link in 2016 to an “answer blog” published in Huffington Post to my White Privilege piece. One friend commented:
“I’m glad that your thoughtful post got the attention it deserved. A lot of my friends shared it after I shared it — you delivered your message in a very “hearable” and moving way. You made it into a teaching moment, and I think those are rare.”
Under that Jason replied:
“It certainly taught me… “
And that was it. That’s all I got.
I knew it would anger or sadden some readers to know that after I spent a large chunk of my time crafting a reply (not to mention considerable emotional labor), all I got back was four words and a wink emoji. It would seem to affirm no matter how much Black people extend ourselves to help white people understand, it’s not worth the effort because they really don’t want to hear or engage with the answer even when they’re the ones who asked in the first place.
For other readers, they likely wanted to hear a happy ending – that my response transformed Jason’s thinking, finally made him understand white privilege and systemic racism, and that he was now fighting the good fight like any good-hearted, newly-aware person would do. I didn’t want to upset those readers either, even though — let’s be real — there’s no magic post anywhere that’s going to do all that.
But I’ll admit, a deeper response from him would have been nice for me to hear, too.
The producers reached out to me and Jason this summer after my piece went around again post-George Floyd and the nationwide protests, and we finally came together to have the conversation we’ve never had. So instead of having me tell you his response secondhand, you now can hear it directly for yourself. Hope it satisfies!
Take care and all best, Lori