July 7th, 2020
This morning, I was scrolling and came across a local post by KARE 11 about supporting black businesses. The comment section was horrifying; it inspired me to write a very angry post (I hadn’t had my coffee yet) directed at the people who still insist that racism isn’t real.
And then Facebook deleted it after I hit “post”.
I couldn’t believe it. I had spent all this time and energy crafting what I wanted to say, and then it was gone, like I hadn’t even said it. I was too frustrated and exhausted to even attempt to try again — and immediately realized that it was but a small glimpse into other lives.
In the post, I reiterated what has been reiterated, again and again: “reverse racism” is not a thing. Supporting black businesses is not a racist practice. Putting spotlights on marginalized communities are for the benefit of everybody.
But the sentiment that I feel needs to be shut down the hardest is people — especially white folks — telling others what to protest for.
You know what I’m talking about.
Posting about an atrocity that has occurred, and then adding: “Where are the protests for THAT?”
Let me fill you in on something: if you’re upset about an injustice in the world? Then YOU protest about it. You get your ass off your couch, you organize a gathering, and you tell people that you will not stand for this. That is literally how protesting works. If you’re not protesting, then obviously the problem does not affect you like you think it does — or you simply have the privilege to ignore it.
We — the aforementioned white folks — need to let go of this fragility, these insecurities and own that this is our problem. Nobody out there is telling us that we’re responsible for slavery; but we are responsible for a system that continues to oppress others on layers and levels that we’re not committed to tearing up and breaking down.
By saying “There is not a problem,” you are confirming that you are the problem.
I’ve recently learned that being a White Ally is not a thing. And there was nothing about that new knowledge that was surprising or hurtful to me. How can I possibly “be in this” in the same way? I can’t. All I can offer is the ability to recognize how our systems discriminate and challenge some unfairly, and support efforts to change them.
This post actually ended up being much longer, and possibly angrier than the first (despite me finding some coffee). I spend time reading and listening now, and speak up when I feel like it can help.
I figure: it is the least I can possibly do.