I got pulled over yesterday morning for leaving my handicap hangtag on my mirror. I bit my tongue and said some four-letter words and took some deep breaths. And I got off with a warning. I was worried about fines and points and being late to work. At no point did I fear for my safety or life.
I soak in white privilege every day. I acknowledge this. I acknowledge that I benefit from it. I acknowledge that I’m troubled by this.
Black Lives Matter has galvanized and transformed social consciousness and the use of social media. Let’s go further and be real, however; the point of this movement is that the establishment and wielders of power should be the ones thinking more and living in consideration of the disenfranchised and oppressed, and actively working to balance the scales and right these wrongs. It’s sin. Racism is sin, in its overt and subtle expressions.
The onus is not on black people to coach and coddle white people into accepting our outright responsibility for this, nor should they or anyone be worried about our comfort levels or the possibilities of our feelings being hurt as this revolution continues. I believe there are many white people out there who want to provoke further change and are ready for it and willing to help. I hope I am honestly one of them. I get supremely pissed off when it feels like all we can do in the wake of yesterday’s two shootings is to share memes and old photographs and snide jokes and maybe, maybe, pray as hard as we can. I’m sick of most of the above and tired of feeling relegated to just praying.
As with LGBTQ rights and change, I believe many allies want badly to speak out, but don’t, out of a fear of being miscontextualized or misspeaking. Then there are those like me, who don’t know exactly what to do. I worry that leads us to sigh and do nothing, and continue to reinforce structural and pronounced racism in this country via our consciously-chosen silence as unconscious support.
Power only shifts meaningfully when the establishment opts to identify an imbalance and power is relinquished to end that imbalance. We can’t leave it up to Black Lives Matter or any movement comprised of or for peoples of color, to generate a treatise on how us white people need to change or behave. We have to lead it and want it. We’ve done a profoundly lacking job of creating a path to liberation and equality on our own.
More to come.