Monday, August 18, 2014

But I'm Not a Racist

Let me make one thing clear. I do not support rioting and looting or killing for any reason.

That being said, the Black community is rebelling against a society that has oppressed them for hundreds of years. If they were in a far-off country, most of us would be supporting their struggle to be freed from an oppressive system. We might even send them support and armored troops to help them fight a system that is routinely murdering their children. We would be filling up our newsfeeds with encouragement for their struggle against an oppressive system.

But because they are in “our” country and not submitting to “our” rules - unwritten rules which require them to be subjugated to Whites, to endure being mistreated on a daily basis, to “know their place”, to sit quietly as their sons and daughters are murdered - we call them criminals.

These are not criminals. These are rebels who are fighting against a system that has impoverished and subjugated them for hundreds of years. Instead of condemning them, we should all step back and say, “What conditions would drive a human being to respond in such a way? What must they be enduring to have come to a point where they feel they have no voice and must act in this way to be heard? What can I do to help the Black community?”

Instead, we sit in our white privilege, say it has nothing to do with me, condemn people whose struggle we cannot even fathom, pass judgement on ones who are being systematically oppressed, and then pat ourselves on the back because we are “better” than them.

How much better are the oppressors than the oppressed?

I hear you. You don’t personally oppress anyone. I hear that.

Please hear me.

By not understanding the undercurrents of racism, by passing judgment without knowing the struggle, by demonizing a whole people, by ignoring what is happening, by arguing rather than believing what I am telling you, YOU are contributing to the system that supports racism. “But I’m not a racist!” you say. Good. But not being a racist is not good enough. If we want a better world for ALL of our children, we must be anti-racism. That means actively working to dismantle the systemic racism in our country. Before we can even do that we need to acknowledge that racism exists and then understand exactly what that means — how it looks, how it affects people (both Black and White and all others), how we are part of it whether we want to be or not. And that requires participation in the Black community. We cannot do this work while we sit comfortably in our white privilege, isolated from those who do not enjoy its benefits.

Will you be anti-racism with me? For my boys? For your children?

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