I figured I would get that that #Too out of the way, because apparently that omission has caused a lot of confusion. #BlackLivesMatterTOO. If you can’t understand why this is not a time to assert that all lives matter, then you can click here and come back to my blog later, if you’d like.
Last night my boyfriend and I were watching the live news coverage in Dallas with the rest of the country. We sat in stunned silence for the most part, Jeremy occasionally mentioning he was homesick for Canada. For the umpteenth time, I was so ashamed and genuinely scared for the future of my country.
I was clicking between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, like I always am, reading post after post about what was happening. Thoughts! Prayers! Police brutality! Gun control! #BlackLivesMatter! #BlueLivesMatter! A bombardment of opinions and rants and confusion and us vs. them. Finally, I opened Safari and googled, “How does a white person get involved in #BlackLivesMatter?” That’s where I’m at.
I’ve posted on social media about terrorist attacks, because everyone seems to accept that terrorism exists and is evil. I’ve posted about animal cruelty, because that’s a cause mostly everyone can get behind. I’ve never posted much of anything about the racial issues in our country, or the #BlackLivesMatter movement, because I’ve never known what to say.
I’m not black. I’ve never felt threatened because of how I look. I’ve never walked into a room and felt judged before I’ve opened my mouth. I’ve never been afraid that a member of my family would be targeted because of the color of their skin. I’m also not a racist. So where do I fit in?
When I woke up this morning, it was still on my mind. But then it dawned on me that debating about posting something is just another glaring example of my privilege. I can choose to involve myself in this movement or not. I can decide if I’m going to speak up. Black Americans dont get to make a choice whether or not they will be involved, because they were born into a country where they are repeatedly shown and told that their lives matter less.
Racism is alive and well in our country. Whether you want to admit or not, whether you want to pretend that this isn’t a racial issue, whether you want to ignorantly post that #AllLivesMatter, that’s the glaring truth.
There is no tidy conclusion to this post, because my thoughts are very, very untidy. I’m still figuring out how to get actively involved with #BlackLivesMatter. But Jesus, at the very least I can stop being quiet. I’ve been so scared of putting my foot in my mouth or being uncomfortable- seriously? That’s privilege. Ignoring a problem doesn’t negate its existence, and maybe we all just need to get really f*cking uncomfortable, address how vicious and deep-rooted these systemic issues are, and start moving forward.
From Amelia Shroyer’s HuffPost blog here.
Let’s just get this out of the way: The fact is, if you’re white in America, you’ve likely said, thought, or done something racist. It’s just a fact. We were all brought up in a white supremacist culture. Not only do we passively participate in institutionalized racism as white people, we benefit from it! To shy away from that is to put oneself (yet again) above people of color.
We have to unlearn a lifetime of subtle and not so subtle social cues and behaviors. We have to become aware of how we think about people. We have to cringingly remember times we said racist things to other white people, or worse, in front of a person of color. Whatever it is, we have to face that shit. And it’s hard. And it should be hard. We’ve had everything handed to us; we can’t demand racial enlightenment on a silver platter too. We have to do the work.