Art by Molly Crabapple
Disclaimer: I recognize that all people, no matter gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality come from an individually different experience, background and upbringing. I do not condone immediate hostility towards anyone who’s experience’s or identity have influenced a different set of morals, ideas or politics that might not align perfectly with my own. I believe in the power of communication, education, the sharing of knowledge and the attempt to broaden someone’s point of view before giving up.
I consciously attempt to avoid the language and behavior that will ultimately push others away from my and our collective cause. Let’s make allies instead of maintaining enemies. But to what point must we give up on someone? The following is fueled by the emotions of defeat after an attempt at sharing education, only to be continuously shut down. It is fueled by the frustrations of our toxic society, where people would rather hold on, so dearly, to their pride then open their minds to the perspectives and experiences of others. Who would rather ignore the valid and real oppressions, that are simply unknown to them.
WHITE PEOPLE: I do not hate you. I do not condemn you, your heritage or what pride you have in relation to where you and your family came from. I do not individually blame you for slavery, systematic oppression or the unfair distribution of goods and resources.
I DO condemn you for avoiding communication, for denying history, for boxing your education within the walls of social media, Wikipedia and easily falsified news/facts. For refusing to speak out for those who aren’t given a platform as high as yours, for generalizing the welfare of communities by the assumptions of biased outsiders and media outlets that are paid to say or omit what *somebody else* wants the public to know or not know.
You might say your not racist and you can wish “everyone would just come together and get along” all you want, but if you do any of the above-mentioned^ you are indeed a part of the problem that divides us. Your denial is what oppresses ALL of us. Nobody chooses the color of their skin and what socially comes or doesn’t come with that skin tone; but as white folks, we need to check our ancestry, our history and our privilege. In great detail.
No, not EVERYTHING is about “race.” But if you act like NOTHING is about or involves “race”, you are lying to yourself and your community.
AND if you think I’m full of shit, (I generally try to avoid backing up my arguments with the fact that I am a student but if I must…. ) please take it up with my college education, the institutions that provide that education, my professors, scholarly academics who write books, hold seminars and win awards for educating on these topics. Please take it up with my mf book shelf, the endless history books and biographies at your local book store and all the people who have fought and died to speak out against racial injustice in America.
Just because the ways that America oppresses its people look different than the oppressions of other countries, whether “better” or “worse” in your biased comparison, does not mean that our battles for equality are not worth fighting for.
So, How do you educate others? Where do you draw the line? What are your tactics? White people, what do you do to appropriately be an ally? What should we do?
White people, all people, young people, old people. PLEASE. Educate yourselves and each other. Communicate.
- How White People Invented Racism by R.L. Stephans II of Orchestrated Pulse
- RACE – The Power of an Illusion by Audrey Smedley. Brought to you by PBS
- Institutional Racism Is Our Way of Life by Jeff Nesbit of U.S News
- 10 Signs Of Institutionalized Racism And The Rhetoric Of ‘Greatness’ by Robin Hughes of Huffington Post
- How To Easily Be A White Ally To Marginalized Communities by Christopher Keelty of Huffington Post
- Want To Help End Systematic Racism? First Step: Drop the White Guilt by Sincere Kirabo of The Humanist
- For White People Who Compare Black Lives Matter to White Supremacy by Michael Harriot of The Root
- 17 Books On Race Every White Person Needs To Read by Bustle