For months, I’ve seen African Americans lead the charge on Twitter in an attempt to school White liberals (et al) on White privilege. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they scream BS and you’re pulling the race card and run tweeting in the other direction.
“Denial is the most predictable of human responses.” – The Matrix.
It is also the most shameful when truth is staring you in the face – if you would just remove your blinders to see it.
It changes the entire dynamic when you open your mind and listen with an open heart. It validates the other and comes from an honest place which allows for building and coalitions.
That has awesome all over it, yes?
Because, let’s face it, the racism that infects our country’s institutions, spawns racist laws and has poisoned so many minds, can’t be fixed by POC alone. Just as it was in the 60’s, we need a broad coalition to address the egregious wrongs that are being perpetrated on POC.
That’s why it did my heart good to see the diverse crowds that have been protesting against the Zimmerman verdict. And, the Youtube video below that went viral after the verdict. (Not the only one but I believe that it’s the first.)
I just found out about wearenottrayvonmartin and it blew my mind. It’s a compilation of perspectives by (mostly) White people on White privilege. Most importantly, it asks, “What will you do to change this country?”
Great article here.
Is this a sign of the beginning of a much needed dialogue on race that America needs to have? Of the change many of us would like to see? It may just be that we are witnessing an important moment.
We can only hope. *fingers crossed*
EXCERPT – I’M RAISING MY WHITE FLAG: AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL WHITE PEOPLE
I white’d out my profile pics on Facebook and Twitter. I did this to align myself with white power – not to laud it, but to acknowledge this sad reality that me and all white people share. We who were born white are heirs to white privilege – at least here in the USA. One very important thing this means is if I’m walking in my own neighborhood at night, I’m far less likely to be deemed suspicious and then gunned down than my black male counterparts taking the same walk.
I decided to white out my Facebook and Twitter profiles today to align myself with white power not to laud it, but to acknowledge it as my unwanted, undeserved inheritance. I see this as a first step all white people must face as our part in ending racism in America and preventing any more Trayvon Martin tragedies.
We didn’t make these rules, but they’re here and serve us quite well if you ask me. What’s more, these inherited rules also mean that if I gun down an unarmed black man who I deem suspicious, the criminal justice system will provide me every benefit of doubt the deadly privilege of being white affords me. Not a bad deal for us whites and certainly a good one for George Zimmerman. Not only was he acquitted, he gets to have his gun back – yes the exact one he used to shoot Trayvon Martin in the chest! What really bothers me about all this is the burden I feel I carry of being, as I perceive, one of a few white people who get and readily admit my undeserved privilege. I’m sick because it seems way too easy for far too many white people to feel excused from facing who they really are because: “I’m not racist” – as if non-racist white people have never racially profiled an innocent black person as suspicious. Holding this revelation, admittedly, leaves me feeling isolated and vulnerable. I’m tired with worry over being ostracized for sharing my opinions about white privilege.
But there’s another idea that tires me even more: Racism.
I’m tired of how it’s used as a wedge issue to divide us politically. I’m broken over the dehumanization of black skin by everyone from the media who want to sell ads, to politicians who want to win votes, to all my unconscious white friends and family who want to deny their privilege just to avoid feeling guilty. I’m indignant with white people who know better but do nothing out of fear of alienating their friends, family and neighbors. I’m aghast at the horrifying results of this white privilege, this white negligence where ideas like “we’re all part of the human race” are used to shield us from taking responsibility for our inherited place of privilege. Yes, we should be a color-blind society by now, but a gunned-down, unarmed, hoodie-donning black teen named Trayvon and his acquitted white killer named George tell us we’re not.
Until we are truly color-blind, until we live in a world where it’s safe for black parents to allow their black teens to be pedestrians in their own neighborhoods, I am raising my white flag to acknowledge my own ugly, inheritance and how little I deserve it. I’m raising my flag to tell the world that I understand that I hold this oppressive power by simply being born and that I’ve often obliviously exercised it over my black brothers and sisters, to my shame. I’m raising my flag against the implicit violence of media who report black crime while failing to cover the poverty that often causes it. I’m raising my flag against politicians who violently lie to divide us with race-baiting, pitting ideas like gov’t assistance recipients as lazy, greedy, and black. I’m putting these elected leaders on notice that I’m white and know the truth that the majority demographic who receives gov’t assistance are white women. I’m raising my white flag because I’m tired of the many of the white people I know, people who are friends on Facebook, getting so defensive at the slightest indication that they’re more privileged, safer, looked at more favorably in America than black people. I’m raising my flag to point out that a white person with a hoodie walking through George Zimmerman’s neighborhod watch would not have been suspicious, would not have been pursued, would not have been provoked to “stand his ground,” and would not have been killed with a concealed weapon. I’m raising my flag at all the white people who share their obscene memes, their insensitive flippant remarks, their simple-minded ideas about the trial and it’s verdict so they can shield themselves from their own responsibility in this tragedy. I’m raising my flag to make all my white friends aware of just how white I am, just how white they are, and how dangerously that idea divides, how tragically it dehumanizes. I’m raising my flag because, whether we asked to be white or not, even though we didn’t create the notion – we inherited it. I’m raising my flag to call on all fellow white people to shake their obliviousness and finally own the high status our white privilege affords us in the USA. I’m raising my flag in hopes that fellow white people will join me in finally settling the sordid accounts of our forefathers so we can end this violent, dehumanizing power of white-skin privilege once and for all!!