I’ve seen people asking so many questions about the protesting of #georgefloyd’s murder. Do you find yourself condemning what’s happening in Minneapolis but cheering for those who protested the quarantine? Are you more upset about property destruction than unjustified lynchings for all the world to see? Black men’s lives snuffed out before our very eyes? Do you feel compelled to respond to #blacklivesmatter with “all lives matter”? Have you said (or even thought) that we need to “wait for the evidence” before rushing to judgment on a black man’s death? Is there some piece of evidence that would possibly cause you to conclude, “oh, in that case yes.
What happened to #GeorgeFloyd and #ahmaudarbery was right.” If any or all of those questions have crossed your mind, please ask yourself: Why? Then step back and consider what those statements and thoughts mean and what they are rooted in. We all have biases and if white, we have been shaped by racism in America. And before you say, “but I am a good person!! I cannot be racist!!” consider whether you would be willing to trade places with an African American for even a day.
To carry the fear, the anxiety, the dread, of knowing your rights could be violated, you could be falsely accused, you could be passed over for employment or promotion, denied health care, education, housing, opportunity—all because of the color of your skin, something given to you by God. To be effectively unseen by those who claim they “don’t see color.” For your gifts, talents, and thoughtful contributions to be neglected and unworthy of consideration BECAUSE you are black. To always be adapting to the white environment around you so you can be accepted, considered non-threatening, and just LIVE to make it home at night.
To have to teach your children how to navigate a world where every achievement is an uphill battle, to have people assume you only got the job to meet a quota and not on your own merits, to be held responsible for the actions of your entire race or if successful, to be deemed a “credit to your race.” Because we are white, these are things we don’t have to deal with and cannot possibly fully comprehend. But we CAN learn, listen, believe, advocate, and align ourselves with the lived experiences of those who are black in America. Don’t be afraid to do the hard work it will require as you start to understand the systemic racism of our society. It has nothing to do with good v. bad. It has everything to do with upholding the supremacy and privilege of one race over others. This is a turning point in our nation.
Please don’t shy away from the opportunity to grow wiser, to acknowledge and collectively repent of the sin of racism in our nation, to introspectively examine your own biases, and commit to fighting against them FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. This is not a one-and-done exercise. Just as we will not be made perfect while on this earth, we must continually strive to overcome that which we have been conditioned to believe about our own superiority and privilege. Only when we do so can we affect real change.