FIVE CONCRETE WAYS I’M GOING TO DO BETTER

Like so many of you, I’ve had a heavy heart this week, my mind racing between grief and hopelessness and of course a desperate desire for change. I posted this over the weekend and together you donated over $7,300 to the Black Visions Collective, the first $1,000 of which Will and I matched and the second $1,000 of which our friends Jenn and Bob matched for a total of over $9,300. I’m grateful to this community coming together to raise money for an organization I truthfully didn’t know about this time last week, but I know these efforts are a drop in the bucket of changes I must make to be a better advocate for people of color. I’ve been brainstorming about how I personally can be actively anti-racist (more on that in this post) and how I can use my platform to be a more vocal ally for black people and all people of color. There are so many more well-versed resources out there (this Google doc is an excellent place to start) but I know I can be a more powerful advocate both in my online community and in my everyday life. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I know a lot of us are overwhelmed and eager to help in any way we can, so I wanted to share a few of the changes I’m personally implementing in the hopes of inspiring you to take similar action yourself. As I wrote this weekend, I’m hopeful that many people doing something will have a greater impact than some people doing everything, and it’s high time I and so many people like me step up and play our part.

*artwork

  1. I’m committing to sharing resources I find educational and/or eye-opening. I’ve started by creating an anti-racism highlight on my Instagram so you can refer back to stories with graphics and videos I’ve found impactful. I will never pretend to be an expert on this subject, but I’m committed to listening to, learning from, sharing, and properly crediting the people who are.
  2. I’m committing to amplifying the voices of people of color in my industry. There are so many talented content creators across all races and I’m truly ashamed that I haven’t done more to seek out and promote their work. I’ll be sharing a list of my and your favorite POC bloggers (collected on Instagram over the weekend) later this week and linking their work on an ongoing basis in the weekend reading posts I share here each Saturday. The links in these posts routinely get thousands of clicks every week and it’s a massive oversight on my part that the majority of those clicks have gone towards white bloggers and business owners for so long.
  3. I will ask more of the brands I work with. There is an urgent need for more inclusive brand campaigns and press trips in our industry, all of which should reflect the diverse population of people purchasing goods and planning trips to the destinations being promoted.
  4. I will do the work myself. To whom much is given, much is expected, and I know I personally have a lot of learning to do. It’s up to me to seek out new voices and new resources rather than asking friends of color to help do that work for me. I know I will make mistakes, but I’m committed to listening when I’m told I’ve messed up and doing my best to learn from and avoid repeating those mistakes.
  5. I will continue this work after the social media frenzy has quieted down. A frequent concern I’m seeing echoed among people I follow on Instagram is that the promises being made during this tidal wave of social media attention will not be kept once there’s another headline that grabs our collective attention. But the most important anti-racist work we can all do is in our own homes, and it’s incumbent on me as a new mom of a white son to make sure his bookshelves are filled with heroes and heroines of color (many wonderful recommendations here) and to lead by example in standing up against incidents of racism in our community.

I know some of these actions apply specifically to my work as a blogger, but if you’re looking for a tangible first step that anyone can take (again, something is better than nothing!) please sign this petition or make a donation if you’re able. The organization we raised money for this weekend has met their fundraising goals and asked that additional funds be directed elsewhere, so please consider other organizations like Campaign Zero, the George Floyd Memorial Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

I’d love to hear the anti-racist actions you’re taking in your own homes and I’m open to any and all feedback you’re willing to share. We are all in this together. xx

21 thoughts on “FIVE CONCRETE WAYS I’M GOING TO DO BETTER

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  1. I have been following your blog for years and years. I have always appreciated your content and frequented your shop when it was open, but I was always struck by the stunning lack of diversity in terms of the images and people you promote. As both an African-American woman and a supporter, I am glad and proud that you have now committed to sponsoring POC bloggers. Both this post and the post highlighting black bloggers is definitely a step in the right direction. It is only a step, but it is very meaningful and intentional. I read your blog every day and it will be nice to finally see that black women “fit” into the idealistic preppy perfect-picture portrait portrayed here. Hopefully other bloggers will follow suit.

  2. Dearest Mackenzie I am super proud of you for stepping outside your comfort zone and using your intellect and influence to advocate for change. While I enjoy, with the rest of your readers, your unique sense of style I know how brilliant you are and how compassionate your heart is. Perhaps because I work in schools, I think education is an important component for all of us to do better. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela. I have been working with the Anti-Defamation League and this past school year brought their World of Difference curriculum to our schools. Your readers might also be interested in Discovery.com/RISE that educates and also offers opportunities to donate to groups that address all kinds of inequity in the world.

  3. Mackenzie, I know you come from a good place with a good heart and intentions. But you should know that Desmond Tutu is anti-Semitic. He believes all Jews should be distinguished. I did not know this until one day I was reading his book and someone brought it to my attention and I did my research and sure enough. He has said it on many occasions. I was very sad when I learned of this, but as they say the devil comes in many disguises. Keep up your beautiful posts. I’ve been an reading it for years, but have never made a comment but I thought this one warranted one. BTW Teddie is soooo cute!

    1. Irene, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I should have done more research before reposting. Appreciate you sticking with me and calling me out when I miss the mark.

    2. Hi Irene, I think it’s important to note that there’s a difference between being anti-Semetic and being against Israel’s policies. There are many, many examples of him supporting Jewish people (for example, he is/was patron of South Africa’s holocaust centre). What he is vocal against is Israel’s policies, and being critical of a government should never be confused with being xenophobic against the Jewish people. Israel has been committing war crimes and genocide for decades, and many people and organizations have been critical of that. That doesn’t mean they’re anti-Semetic and it’s not fair to label them as such.

      Mackenzie, thank you again for this post. Your content around this subject has been great to follow, and I look forward to seeing more of it.

  4. Mackenzie, thanks for this post. I have been doing a lot of reflecting and know I have a lot to unlearn/unpack in my own life, as a wife woman. One institution I’m reflecting a lot on is Bucknell, obviously a predominately white institution. I feel Bucknell may have been failing its BIPOC students during our time there, and that I was complicit in that failing.

    It might interest you to follow GW Boon (he played basketball in our year at Bucknell) on Instagram. (@GWBooooooon3). He is kindly taking the time to share some of his personal experience as a black man on his stories right now. I had originally typed out one of his stories here (re: his time at Bucknell) but decided it was not my place to share it here. I will just say my mind was blown, which feels naive to admit. (I mean, I’ve read James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” — James Baldwin had been writing about this shit for years, and he died in 1987.)

    I guess what GW’s stories have shown me is that what we’re seeing in the news is truly the TIP of the iceberg. Obviously, I feel like I’ve been living in the land of denial for a long time and it’s painful to admit it. It makes me feel like an idiot, but I think that is a necessary part of the process. Sending you love.

    1. Joyce, thank you so much for sharing GW’s account. I’m following now and look forward to learning from him. It pains me similarly to think about our alma mater’s shortcomings and like you I feel I have a responsibility to sit with those shortcomings and work to reconcile them within myself and the people I reach online and off. I feel a lot of shame learning how complicit I’ve been in this systematic oppression and I agree with you that shame is a painful but absolutely necessary first step.

  5. I live in MN just south of the Twin Cities. Separate from Floyd’s horrific murder, is the fact that now the looting has taken away the grocery stores in many areas. Our largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, ran an article this morning that many people no longer have a food store easily accessible because they were looted/burned, and now with public transportation not running either, many people don’t even have an easy way to get to a grocery store. It’s truly tragic in so many, many ways.

  6. Thank you for posting about this and your financial match. Those sound like some great steps to take. I’m wondering what you plan to do in your own community as well. Darien is 95% white, in fact one of the whitest communities in the entire country, and of course it’s also very wealthy. When I did research on housing policy years ago, Darien came up as a place where more affordable housing was opposed by residents in a move that many believed had racist motives. What can you do as a blogger and a person committed to anti-racism in your own town? I know that it’s a very nice place with a lot of natural beauty, but it seems like the problem can’t be ignored there or in some of the places that you vacation. I bring this up not to attack you, but to highlight the struggle that I think a lot of more privileged white people have – we can read books and take other actions, but we need to look at the choices we’ve made in our own lives too. Personally, I’ve always lived in towns that were whiter on average than the overall metro area – I am sure that my implicit biases played a role in picking neighborhoods that I deemed safer or nicer. When I have kids, I want them see diversity every day, not just occasionally, and I know I need to work on myself and make that happen. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. I totally hear you on this and it’s something I need to examine for sure. Your comment is a reminder of the importance of exercising our right to vote in local and state elections in addition to presidential ones, but I don’t have a great answer outside of reading, donating, voting, volunteering. One way our family has tried to make a difference is by getting involved with A Better Chance, where my parents have spent the last four years living with and caring for a total of thirteen young women of color from the tristate area and New England who attend Darien High School for four years. The program has been an invaluable education for our entire family about matters of race and privilege, but we could always be doing more and I’m certainly open to any additional thoughts you might have.

      https://www.mackenziehoran.com/2018/10/18/a-better-chance-darien/

      1. I’ve always enjoyed your posts about A Better Chance. I don’t have any real answers either, but some ideas could include joining a YMCA or social club of some kind in a different town (not sure how feasible that is driving-wise), writing op-eds in your local paper, supporting affordable housing initiatives and smart development near transit, Big Brothers/Big Sisters types of groups, supporting black-owned businesses in the region, supporting black arts and culture in the city….