White Friends, Let's Talk about Race
You kept me up last night. Again. I know a lot of White people and I am surrounded by you. I go to church with you, you teach my kids, we go to weddings and funerals together, baby showers, Taco Tuesday, dancing, mom groups, you come to my house and I go to yours. Many of you probably have very few Black people in your social media and personal lives. And it shows. Let me do you and myself a favour and tell you some things. They'll be hard to hear and you may squirm. You may get mad and never speak to me again. But if you and I interact, I want you to know where I stand and what I stand for. I see you. I see the things you post and I hear the things you say and imply. Sometimes I leave the interaction baffled and hurt. I envy your boldness and confidence in speaking and posting and gramming your White hearts out. Good for you. Some of you say you want to do better and you want to know what you can do. Let me try to help you out.
Stop rolling your eyes when you see anything about White privilege. It's real. Just like having sight gives me an advantage over someone who doesn't. Your Whiteness gives you a better chance of not being followed at the store than my skin gives me. My sight is an advantage. Your skin colour is an advantage. It kept your great and grandparents from being hosed and hung. It got them loans and jobs. If your White son and my Black son light up a joint in a parking lot and the law gets involved, would you bet your life on both our children getting the same treatment/punishment? If you say you would you are in denial. Privilege. We all have different kinds of privileges. I don't know why you think this is a personal jab. Can I interest you in getting over it like you would like us to get over slavery?
|Photo by Juliam Myles via Unsplash|
Next, Black Lives Matter. You know why Black Lives Matter was established? Because not All Lives Matter. Read that again. Let me rephrase: Because all human lives do not (seem to) matter, we had to come up with a movement about specific lives mattering. Stop saying All Lives Matter. Some of you mean well but you are actually diminishing the point of Black Lives Matter. Not all humans are equal in the eyes of racists. It's hard to enslave your equal. Dehumanize them and it's easier. And can the church stop saying we are "one human race" and that you want your congregation to look like heaven? Black people are being sent to heaven early at the hands of racist police officers. Stand against that and spare your Black congregants the kumbaya sermons. I'm so tired of seeing our faces on your websites and banners when there is little to no acknowledgement of our injustices. Is there a more treasured life than the White, male fetus that comes from old money?
Kneeling during the national anthem is a protest against police brutality toward Black people. Stop twisting it to be more than that. It's disgusting. The only thing your Nike burning and your threats of boycotting the NFL shows is your lack of basic comprehension and White fragility. You are showing you value a flag over (Black) flesh and blood. That you value the symbol over what it (supposedly?) symbolizes - freedom and bravery. Here's my truth: Your actions, words and stock reposts about "this is why we stand for the anthem" makes it feel like the United States flag stands for the White free and those brave enough to be racist. Black people feel like the oppressed and the brutalized. We would love to feel as free as you because of the brave. We would love that. But we do not. So you tell me who is disrespecting the stripes and stars when you murder the ones the brave go to fight for? Tell me, who is making their sacrifice in vain?
More explicitly put: Protesting police brutality against Black people by kneeling during the anthem is not (meant to be) anti-Veteran. I'm not even going to say I'm sorry you feel that way. That's on you. You took that up on yourselves. You don't think Black Veterans exist? You don't think Black folks aren't grateful for the freedom/protection the military provides?
We know not all police officers are racists and racist murderers. But some are and they are killing Black people. If you want to die on the hill of Blue Lives Matter you go right ahead. You clutch your pearls and purse when you walk by a Black man while that same Black man dies at the hands of a racist officer. You think all social workers are good? All nurses? Teachers? It sickens me that I have to break it down like this.
|Photo by Rui Silvestre via Unsplash|
Without doubt some of you are wondering if it's so bad here why don't I/we just go back to where I'm/we're from. To that I ask, like your families ran away from neigbourhoods when Black folks started moving in? The answer is really none of your business and may I invite you to examine your motive for asking. Do quake in your sanctimonious boots when you hear a cuss word but don't bat a mascaraed eye when you hear your family use derogatory names? Check yourself. I'm not trying to be sassy, I'm saying you should start examining the things that you have neglected to question or take stock of within your self and those around you. Follow some Black Instagram accounts. Watch Black'ish or some other Black shows or documentaries. Check out PBS docu-series on the Civil Rights Movement. Diversify your life a little. Send me a message, I'll chat with you.
I know some anti-racist White people. I am happy to call them friends and family. I hear you. I see you seeing us. I see you calling out folks left and (ALT) right. Your voice is bigger than mine. Some of you are doing as much as you can - what we need is more of you.