The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 ignited a conversation long overdue.
It has sparked necessary dialogue between family, friends, and yes, businesses and their consumers. If you think things have “calmed down” or that people are beginning to “move on,” I have bad news, but this is not the time to opt out of the conversation.
Living in Edmond wasn’t the easiest choice
I have lived in Edmond for more than 15 years. My husband and I have built our lives here, and we have made the choice to raise our children here. Believe it or not, it wasn’t the easiest choice. Edmond is a beautiful place to live, Edmond has a wonderful school district, and according to The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) numbers released in 2011, for calendar year 2010, Edmond is the 11th safest city in the United States for cities of its size. So why the hesitation? Well, when you are in an interracial marriage, things are complicated. When you have biracial children, things are just plain hard.
Choosing our neighborhood became a huge undertaking. Neighborhood after neighborhood we found beautiful homes, wonderful amenities; but, what we could not find were people of color. Edmond has a population of about 93,000. It’s one of the five largest cities in the state, and based on the data of the last Oklahoma census only about 5.3 percent are black and only 20 percent are people of color. Interestingly enough, as we began to ask realtors about diversity, they suggested looking in a different city. Let that sink in.
Should we not make the attempt to diversify a city instead of shifting to another? Otherwise, how do we ever get past this?
How to diversify our city
That starts with the community members, and it starts with our businesses. Every member of our community should begin by asking themselves this question: does my business suffer from a case of microaggressions? Have you observed someone in a retail store walking closely behind a person of color? Have you overheard the waitress say “ugh, I know they won’t tip well.” As leaders of our community, we expect you to say more. To do more.
What can you do? Stop stereotyping and microaggressions in their tracks. Educate your staff. Educate yourself. It will lead to growth; we can be better.
What is white privilege?
What is white privilege? First let me say that white privilege isn’t earned, it has nothing to do with your socioeconomic status, and you don’t ask for it, you simply get it by being born white. Imagine taking your daughter shopping for tights, but they don’t make them in her skin color. Imagine grabbing flesh colored bandages off the shelf . . . but they’re not the color of your flesh; and about those nude colored heels . . . Now imagine living in a city where only 20 percent of the population share a darker skin tone. White privilege is simply the hidden societal benefit or the privilege of being white.
What can I do? Well the first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. If you’re already there, then the next step is education. It’s okay to start now — better now than never.
My children are racially ambiguous, and my hope for them is they not experience racism a day in their life. But they will. As a parent, I have to prepare them for that day, for that hurt. White privilege means you will never have to consider that conversation a day in your life. That is a privilege I don’t have. So, I ask you to consider mine—think about the awkward tension in the room and then the tears when the realization sets in. My daughter is seven years old, and I was too late. Last summer, a boy wouldn’t play with her because she was too brown. My sweet innocent girl was hurt. “Mommy why is there something wrong with being brown?” she asked. How do I answer that question? How would you answer that question? Have you talked to your child about racism? It’s the responsibility of us all. And if I was too late, how late are you?
It’s about equality, and we all have a responsibility to promote equality.
We all have a role to play
We all have a role to play in order to make this a better city, a better state, a better country. But it all starts with education and prevention. Pledge today to call out inappropriate or discriminatory behavior.
Let us be a better community together. We can be better. We will be better.
You’ve been listening. You’ve been learning. If Edmond can be known for one thing, let that be the champions of change. A community of action, a community that brings about positive change and solidarity. It’s not too late to join the conversation. This is place where all are welcomed at the table.
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About Koshia Silver
Koshia Silver has been an Edmond resident since the mid-2000s. She is an experienced marketing and communications leader with a proven background in branding, strategic partnerships, and visual storytelling.
Koshia prides herself on creating corporate narratives that resonate with their audience and she approaches problems with innovative solutions. She loves a challenge.