We don’t hear the subtext of language or tone.
We don’t see in a single facial expression things that have been seen a million times.
We don’t see the disrespect of a frozen stare - as if a teen and an adult are peers.
If bigotry was not said aloud from a narrow dictionary, we deny it was said at all - even when it was said in a million small ways.
We have never been the minority surrounded by 100 people unlike us chanting and mocking us.
We’ve likely never been stared down by someone telegraphing they have no intention of yielding.
We’ve never experienced any of these cues.
We have no aptitude for even understanding them.
We filter out things we’ve had the luxury of never seeing firsthand directed at us.
And in so doing, we ensure they will continue to exist.
It makes things that are obvious and familiar to others invisible to us.
It puts the subtle cues others rely on to navigate situations outside of our detection.
When we can’t see though, we should at least be able to listen.
When we cannot see the racism in a situation, as white people, we should listen long and hard to the people who can.
When we can’t see, we most need to hear.