I recently heard someone refer to the Black Live Matter Movement as a fad. I can't begin to express the anger that I had to stuff down to keep from exploding. A fad? The fight against institutionalized racism in this country that has been battled for centuries is now a fad?
But who am I to comment, right?
What does a white woman have to say about a movement that has formed to combat the use of excessive force against black people, especially black men?
A lot, actually.
I have a lot to say, and more of the white population should. We have had the genetic luck in this country of having skin a color that grants us more privileges than any of us will ever fully understand. We owe it to our fellow Americans to be an ally to the movement. Not one that silences or overpowers the voices of our strong, and all too often marginalized black leaders, but an ally that stands in solidarity with the understanding that we will never fully be able to comprehend the struggle.
The media hasn't glorified the arrest and imprisonment of white people.
I haven't been stopped and frisked walking home, just because.
My skin may be a different color but it doesn't stop my ears from listening, or my eyes from seeing the injustices this country has served to the black population with every iteration of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration...
I've been told by some that my support of the cause weakens it. Dilutes the message by implying black Americans can't "handle" the issues alone. That they "need" the help of the majority. This has never been my mindset, but I'll be interested to hear more comments on this as I'm open to better understanding how I can more effectively lend my support.
To me, this is not a minority/majority issue any more than it is a black/white issue.
This is a human issue.
An awakening to all of the social and political plays that have been set in motion long before anyone in the #BlackLivesMovement existed.
This is a memory issue.
We cannot keep erasing these realities from our history books - forgetting (or never being taught about) our past as if it didn't set in motion all the inequity we are seeped in today. Despite some major strides, a lot more work remains. Bias and discrimination haven't gone away, they are just more subtlety packaged today, making vigilance all that more important.
This is a education issue.
Ignorance is bliss. I suppose that old saying holds true for a lot of things, white privilege included. But if we don't expose ourselves and hold conscious these advantages, we will talk ourselves in circles about the negative impacts of racial discrimination without ever recognizing the counter side from which the white population has benefited.
Why isn't the white population talking more about this?
I'll be anxious to hear your thoughts.