TO THE EDITOR:
Dear White People – Normally I don’t support expressions or causes that lump people together by outward appearance - I tend to find them offensive. However, what I saw in 8 minutes and 46 seconds was so far more than offensive that it is indeed time to think as a group. Because this time how we look really matters, and we can use it for good.
It’s time for us white people to stand together with our “black” brothers and sisters, co-workers, neighbors, friends, family and citizens. I don’t think we have to feel guilty for the fact that slavery or Jim Crow happened. I don’t think we have to feel guilty about having been protected by white privilege, probably because most of us didn’t even know until lately that it was going on. But let’s face it, white people:
WE don’t get pulled over on a DWW. People don’t follow US around in stores because we are presumably shop-lifters. People don’t generally talk to us in a loud, patronizing voice, as though to a child. We don’t generally get told, “The job is filled,” or “We have no vacancy,” only to see the job or the reservation immediately go to a white person.
When we give our teenagers the keys to their first car, we are worried about irresponsible driving and sex in the back seat – not them getting shot. We rarely if ever get called by an explicit racist term. (What even IS the n-word for white people?) The worst thing we fear when getting pulled on a traffic stop is the radar or breathalyzer, not being killed. We don’t fear a cop slowly suffocating us to death on video – because we know they know they wouldn’t do that – there are rules.
So many POC (people of color) are trying to live the American Dream with us – do well in school, serve our country and community, put up with the slights with good cheer. Then to see 8 minutes and 46 seconds of “we can do anything we want to a black man in this country . . . because nobody cares.” What a bitter betrayal that must look to them. Can you imagine? I mean, seriously, can we imagine fearing that for ourselves and our family members?
This is our chance to show that THAT does not represent us. This is our chance to stand between them and the dangers and the slights and the fears. See something, say something. We can make new roles and modes – make “systemic decency” the rule.
Think of creative ways to encourage, welcome, support and protect our brothers and sisters. They have been here for US in so many ways. (Did you know that 43% of people in the armed services are POC?)
It’s just common decency. We will decide in time whether to defund the police or fund this program or not. History will decide if “Black Lives Matter” or “Human Lives Matter” is the best slogan. History will decide what statues do and don’t stay.
But first and foremost – can we stand together and in protection and support of black people, just because that is right? It’s what Americans do for each other in times of need. Their house is on fire right now. Can you hear the alarm ringing? Grab a bucket and help. Everybody counts or nobody counts.