In the midst of rising tensions in America, especially with regard to policing, profiling, and deadly uses of force against people of color, a white father in suburban New Jersey penned a powerful blog post about the realities of white privilege.
Jeff Cook, who runs the blog Beyond The Glass Wall, describes himself as "a blond-haired blue-eyed person" in a mostly white community.
"I was raised to treat everyone equally, regardless of race, or any other demographic for that matter," Cook wrote. "And while my town may have been predominantly white, I certainly didn't grow up isolated from other races and cultures. But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I'm probably still a racist."
It took Cook years of research and observation to see the racial problems in the U.S. and to admit his apprehension toward addressing the subject. He said he wrote the blog as self-reflection and wanted to share his story with the world.
"While I am very uncomfortable when forced to confront a terrible reality that I can generally avoid, my friends and neighbors of color are forced to confront it every day," he wrote. "Until I can acknowledge that I feel more uncomfortable talking about racial inequality than people who have been forced to deal with it every single day of their lives, I will never be able to get over myself enough to be a part of the solution. And if I'm not a part of the solution, I'm a part of the problem."
Cook described a service in a church that he watched where two African American men described not being able to reach for their wallets when they were pulled over by the police. Police profiling and excessive uses of force are subjects that, until recent instances of police brutality, a number of people had the privilege of being uninformed about.
"Whether or not we mean to, most of us are blindfolded to the things that people of color deal with every day," he said. "That is not our fault, but whether or not we stay that way is on us."
Since Cook posted his blog on July 12, he has received nearly 300 comments from people praising him for his courage in addressing this uncomfortable subject. Their reactions took Cook by surprise and made him more optimistic about the future.
"I think it shows that we are at a very special time in our history where we can actually step outside the status quo and do something different," Cook wrote to A Plus. "I think that we have a real chance to leave our kids with a better world than we have. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and I think that it shows we are ready for a conversation."