By Carrie Dubay
I grew up an avid reader. My mom always called me her little bookworm. I was never without a book in my hands. I begged for years for a window seat in my room – I had dreams of sitting in my special nook reading the day away. Alas, my windows were in the middle of a wall where there was no possibility of ever having a nook. But I digress. The point is, I've always loved to read.
As a busy mom of four, it has been harder to find time to hide away with a great book. Life has demanded too much for this pleasure. So, when COVID hit, the one positive I grasped was all the extra time I would finally have for book reading. And my daughter's room even had that window seat I'd always longed for! One of the first things I did when quarantine happened was download three books I'd been wanting to read to my kindle.
And then, nothing...I could not read in quarantine! All this gifted time on my hands and I literally could not read a page. My mind was so scattered I couldn’t focus on even the lightest of genres. What frustration! So, I walked. A lot. Walking seemed to clear my mind, offer a distraction that required no focus and give me fresh perspective after a long day at home. And in my walking, I discovered a renewed love for podcasts.
Now, I have enjoyed podcasts for years but in quarantine I have become a serial podcast listener. And I'm an equal opportunist, listening to everything from the political to the fluff. When one of my favorite podcasts, Serial released a new series - Nice White Parents, I immediately added it to my library.
I was drawn in right from the start by the premise that white parents (even and perhaps especially the nice ones) who think they are stepping in and standing up for what's right for people of color often become the roadblock for change.
Having grown up in the deep south, I have often walked through my adult life with a mixture of pride and shame over my roots. It's hard to explain but just a weighted feeling that I have always carried with me. So, when I moved to New York City after college, I expected I would need to defend myself because of where I'm from. But I quickly learned that while I grew up in a fully integrated school, many of my New Yorker friends did not. And as they became parents, they mostly left the city because they could not afford the private schools and the public schools were, (in their words) terrible. I don't think I realized at the time, the blatant segregation happening right under my nose in what I've always called the greatest city in the world. And I don't think they really did either. And unfortunately, in my white privilege, I never gave it much thought. Until I listened to this podcast .
Nice White Parents focuses on a microcosm of the New York City school system by sharing the historical timeline of one school building in Brooklyn. It's a fascinating story of history literally repeating itself with a pattern of white people advocating change in the New York City school system for more than 60 years. And mostly failing.
I won't spoil the ending but I will say that it's hopeful. I had to check my own white bias many times while listening to this series. And to acknowledge that as a white person, my role as an activist must be measured, balanced and held accountable by my non-white friends. I would encourage you to listen to this very timely five episode podcast as you personally consider what your role is in the Black Lives Matter movement. And let me know what you think!
To listen to Nice White Parents click HERE.
*Nice White Parents is produced by Serial, A New York Times Company and is available on your mobile device via Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google.