People are dying — children
We are on a precipice, one where at any moment our democracy may e
But it isn’t just up to those of us who love Black people. It is up to every white American, who says they care, to take a stand and stop being complicit in protecting a society that doesn’t value Black people’s lives. Make no mistake; we are culpable in the virulent hate we are now seeing.
How can you as a white person do that? How ca
- First, listen. Listen and list
en some more. Do not claim to know or understand what it feels like to be a person of c olor. You can’t. Do not patronize or tell a Black person you are not racist. By a definition of racism that is defined as power over another based on race, we are all racist. The question becom es are we woke?
- When you see someone in harm’s way be prepared to stand up and say something. Being silent is not ever an option
in the face of active racism. Be willing to take on other white people.
- When a Black person tells you that a joke or a statement is racist. Listen.
Don’t tell them you meant no harm. You have no idea what it means to live in a world where stereotypes too often define how people treat you.
- If a progressive, stop equating economic equality with real eq
uality. I have watched as progressives have eschewed identity politics. They believe that cr eating an economy that benefit s everyone will somehow change what is in people’s hearts and bellies. They couldn’t be more wrong. To not deliberately address the issues that are specific to Black communities and Black men and women is to be ensconced in one’s privilege. It is to deny the very real ugly that has been part of the fabric of this nation.
- Do not ever let anyone utter racists
comments or tropes in your presence. Too many of us are more interested in a Happy Thanksgiving than rocking the boat. To be “woke”, to be an ally means to stop accommodating anyone’ s racism at any time, even when it may be uncomfortable and even if Aunt Mary may never speak to you again. Be willing to los e people in your life who spew hate.
- Catch yourself when you start to think and deal
with a Black person based on a stereotype. We have been inundated since childhood by the media, including entertainment and the news to believe that Black people are to be feared, that they aren’t as intelligent, that they are not as cultured and are to be dismissed. When you find yourself thinking that way, change the channel in your head. Name it. Acknowledg e it as a racist thought. It is a powe rful way to change.
- If you have children in school en
courage them to engage with ch ildren who don’t look like them. As a parent reach out to other parents who don’t look like you. It is your job to make them comfortable and welcomed, not theirs.
- When schools, colleges, instit
utions of any kind exhibit their racism, speak up. Write, email, call whatever it takes to let them know this is not okay. Sadly, these incidents happen more often than not so you will have no shortage of oppor tunities.
- Vote in every single election. Know
who you are voting for. Know where the y stand. Are they willing to push aside issues that matter to Black people because they aren’t popular or because they are trying to please the whit e nationalists? Vote.
Black people owe us nothing. The very foundation of this country was built on the back of enslaved Black people. They have given up their lives, their self-respect, their families and their right to live without fe
To do any less means that you don’t understand the moment we are living in.
Donald Trump has unleashed a primal anger as he has convinced many white Am