What the hell, White America?!!
I am disgusted and sickened by the news of yet another young black man shot down by white police.
When is this going to stop?
Tell me, white people, when are we going to rise up and say:
I AM WHITE.
I’M MAD AS HELL.
AMERICA CAN NO LONGER BE A PLACE OF PROLONGED RACISM.
And white people of faith should be on their knees and in the streets in solidarity! Oh but I guess if the victim is not white….
You say that’s not fair? You say there are plenty of well meaning, white people, white Christians who don’t support murder and consider themselves non-racist? There are, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about something far worse; I’m talking about indifference. I’m talking about sitting back and letting it happen. AGAIN. And then going on with our lives, shaking our heads for a second, knowing in the pit of our hearts it’s not right.
And doing nothing.
Even if Michael did whatever he might have done, are you seriously kidding me that we are having our hearts ripped out, again, senselessly?
Like Trayvon Martin.
Like Victor Steen.
Like Ramarley Graham.
Like Kendric McDade.
Like Ervin Jefferson.
Like Kimani Gray.
Like James Brissette.
Like Oscar Grant.
Like Emmett Till.
ALL OVER AGAIN.
While in most cases, their murderers went free.
And then look at how justice has again—so far—been fucked up the ass. Character defamation. Faux justifications for the execution. The white regime out in full-force, unapologetic, unrelenting.
Let me be clear: I have four sons who, in their youth, have done what we view as “minor” things—committed mischief, puffed the magic dragon, and so on. And I will tell you that if any one of them—unarmed, with or without a hoodie, and whether or not they had been up to no good–had been gunned down by any police, you’re damn right I would be in the streets raising hell.
AND I WOULD BE JOINED BY THRONGS OF PEOPLE AT MY SIDE.
THRONGS OF WHITE PEOPLE.
How about we institute a new law, in the vein of the Old Testament language many people seem to love so much: Every time a non-white kid is unjustly murdered, we murder a white one. Would that fix it? Or would that make the white establishment try harder to justify the deaths of the non-whites? Because it’s sure doing it now.
As much as I had hoped and dreamed with the election of a biracial president, we are nowhere near “post-racial” here in the US. Nowhere close. 28% OF BLACKS LIVE IN POVERTY while just 10% of whites do. Say it outloud: TWENTY-EIGHT PERCENT. Our prison system is flooded with black men who commit drug crimes while their white counterparts skip out on punishment or arrest altogether. 45% of the people serving in state prisons for drug offenses are black compared to 30% of whites. And it’s not because more blacks are using drugs than whites. Whites use coke more, have tried pot, hallucinogens, Oxycontin, methamphetamines more than non-whites and yet blacks are arrested for drug possession 3 times more than whites. Black men in particular smoke pot no more than white men yet they’re significantly more likely to be arrested for it. And look at education statistics in mostly white schools and compare them to those that are mostly non-white. It has nothing to do with the fact that whites are smarter. It has everything to do with privilege, access, and a system stacked in whites’ favor. I dare you to look at the statistics and then try to somehow justify the brazen inequity.
And let me go further. I posted on FB this past week, separately, about Michael Brown and I posted about Bryan Higgins—both men murdered in hate crimes two days apart. Yet you know which one got the most attention? You guessed it: the gay, white man. This tells me everything I need to know.
Both deaths are tragic but the lack of hell-raising on behalf of the black man is infuriating. And it is deplorable.
Recently, after one of my angry Michael Brown FB posts, a liberal, white, female, atheist friend private messaged me.
[I feel silly I have to disclaim that she is a liberal and an atheist; but it is germane to the topic: none of my conservative, Christian friends—male or female—have said a word to me.]
I really am asking this out of ignorance….I always feel like there is nothing I can do to help. Do you have ideas on what I can do besides what I’m already doing? Which is simply trying to educate people that I personally know that bash various thing such as race, women’s rights, LGBT rights. My annoyance in this area is that most people have it so ingrained in them that there is nothing I can say that helps. Changing laws is the only way, that I can see, that can permanently help anyone being discriminated against…I would love to be involved in more or even one thing to help educate people on these topics. I’m just not sure how.
Speaking out is a start. But there’s more to it than that. Many of us–self included–live our lives on social media with a vigorous “head-in-the-sand” posture while we post selfies, funny videos, and—in the scope of the injustice around us—shallow, vapid pursuits, while the world around us—our own country—is in turmoil. While innocent children are being murdered, fellow citizens are being disproportionately targeted and marginalized, and oh look–a cute dog video.
What can you do, dear friend? What can any of us do?
We can be more vocal. You can take the lead in forcing conversations. In taking the unpopular stand of forcing people to hear the truth. Just like the tide for civil rights largely turned when white people became allies and the swing toward marriage equality is happening because straight people are standing with us—WHITE PEOPLE MUST AGAIN STAND ON THE SIDE OF JUSTICE FOR THOSE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING THE INJUSTICE. Peoples of faith can petition their pastors and church leadership to take a bold, public stand in their pulpits of influence. We can appeal to municipalities in every city and county in this country to demand an end to any law or regulation that promotes inequity and facilitates injustice. We can show up. We can join the protest. We can be the change this country needs.
It’s that simple.
For me, this is friendship-ending kindof stuff. It is I don’t care what people think or people say. I refuse to hear anymore justifications or excuses. It’s time to stop being blasé about race, pretending it’s not our problem. Justifying our inaction on the fact that we like black people, have a black friend, never posted anything racist. It is time to stand up and join arm-in-arm with our black sisters and brothers and say NO MORE. Not in America. Not here.
Because for every unarmed person of color who is gunned down, their blood is on the hands of white America.
How dare you look away.