Maria Wright is a 42 year old White female architect. She has been an architect for almost 20 years. Maria recalls that she was never told any lies about Black people by anyone who was important in her life. She states that her parents had Black friends and that she was exposed to positive Black role models in her neighborhood. Her dad being a Navy football coach also exposed her to many social experiences with Black people. Wright states whenever someone uttered lies about Black people, her parents were quick to correct them. Her mom was so adamant about not tolerating ignorance that her mom would leave the homes of Maria’s aunts and uncles if they made inappropriate comments. Maria was taught that “people that spread lies about Black people were not respectable or they were uneducated or probably both!” Through her answers I found myself thinking: “Where are we with human cloning because we need more parents like that!” but I digress.
Wright states that many of the lies she was told about Black people occurred in public school. She recalls teachers being more “dismissive” towards Black students compared to White students. The first time she witnessed open racism was during the presidential run of Barack Obama, when she was in her twenties. The only thing that upset her more than the lies were the way in which people were not shunned for spreading those lies. Despite this, Wright continued into her adulthood believing that racism was on the decline but admits she was naïve given what is happening in society today.
Wright has always been intentional about placing herself in diverse experiences. After college she lived above a bodega on 128th street in Harlem and “felt more comfortable there than in an upper class White area.” When she moved to Takoma Park, MD, she chose a street to live on because of its racial diversity. She states firmly that having “Black friends, coaches, and teachers, have made me a much better person than I would be without them in my life.” Because of her relationship with the Black community, she no longer talks to some of her cousins because of the lies they believe and share about Black people. She believes that one way to counter the ignorance we see today is “to start younger with race education. We need to be able to discuss White privilege and critical race theory without people losing their minds over it. We need to vote overtly racist politicians out of every level of government.” Lastly, she states that we need to “fix all of our institutions that were built on racist ideas.”