The Wisdom of Dr. Catherine Meeks

by Z

As I delved into discovering the exact perspective of Dr. Meeks on how to start to heal racism, I came across her blog called A FEW SHADES BRAVER BLOG.

Here I found a wealth of wisdom and common sense with some essays that especially struck me.

In response to the standard “I don’t see color” from white folks Dr. Meeks had this to say.

The point is that it is important to acknowledge who is in front of you and that includes their skin color, their clothes, and everything about them. This is the first step in saying, come and walk with me and let me see who you are and what this encounter might mean for us both. It is important to be prepared to pay attention to what they tell you about their identity, and to listen to them with all of your capacity to do which begins with that initial acknowledgement of the color of their skin and what that means in our journey together.

Her navigation in the white world of America informs her wisdom as a black woman and we, as white people, can learn a lot from her. We start our own process on an individual level
• by not denying what is in front of us,
• by deepening our vision of what it is to be black in a sea of whiteness.
• by listening and ultimately hearing what each black person’s experience is in this world.

On the fervor surrounding Critical Race Theory she had this to say.

The negative chatter about CRT (critical race theory) needs to stop. It is not a body of scholarship that is on its way to the local public school or college for that matter. Unfortunately, many of the loudest proclaimers of its dangers have no idea what actually constitutes CRT, nor do they know how it originated. This is verified by the manner in which they speak about it as if every elementary and high school student is about to be inundated with this weird thing called CRT.
There is a need to take a deep breath and pay a bit of attention to what CRT is and how it came into being in the first place. A group of legal scholars, who included the late Derrick Bell at Harvard Law, Kimberle Crenshaw, Cheryl Harris, Richard Delgado, Patricia Williams, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Tara Yosso and others led the way when they turned their attention to refuting the idea that the law was objective and apolitical as they worked to find the best ways to approach racial justice work. When this search began it was called Critical Legal Studies. They found a great fallacy in the argument that the law is objective, neutral, principled and not influenced by social and political considerations. They believed that the law could be complicit in helping to maintain an unjust social order by reproducing racial inequality.

Wise words from a very wise black woman. We all need to talk less and listen more to gain more understanding of the issues surrounding race in our country.

This essay is a follow up to a lecture Dr. Meeks did in Sonoma County on March 20, 2023 which was organized by Sonoma County NOW and Blacks United of Sonoma County.

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