I really don’t know how to begin this, but I felt really compelled to say something this week in regards to what happened in Charlottesville, NC. And therein lies the issue — why didn’t I say something sooner?
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve been afraid of speaking up for fear of “ruffling feathers” and because I am afraid of saying the wrong thing. I’m a fitness/health professional, and I should “stay in my lane”, right? That’s actually quite the opposite. If I don’t speak up and make an effort to educate myself about the issues that those who are marginalized face in this country, I will always be part of the problem and not the resolution.
The same goes for you, white readers. The exact same goes for you. Your complicity and silence, as well as mine, is part of the problem.
I admit that I am not thoroughly educated on all of today’s social, economic, and political issues, but I do see what has been happening with the treatment of our country’s minority groups and I know it is disgusting and hugely unjust. And sadly, I am just now learning that it’s nothing new. When people say, “It’s 2017! This shouldn’t be happening!” the reality is that these issues have never gone away. They’ve always been there. And it’s about time that we white people understood that.
I admit that for most of my life, I have been blinded by my own privileged bubble and I’ve failed to listen. For that, I need to sincerely apologize. I cannot comprehend what it feels like to live as a minority within this country and that alone speaks volumes about my privilege.
I decided to finally just air my feelings about this matter because staying silent about it would only perpetuate the issue. My voice should be heard, so I am speaking directly to YOU, from one white person to another.
Do not let these issues slide by. Take a stand. Confront the racists and the bigots in your life. Look at evil in the face (even if it’s coming from close members of your family) and say “I will not tolerate that.”
Erin Brown said, “Be a person who gives someone else a glimmer of freaking hope that not all white people are just waiting for an invitation to bust out their tiki torch. It is important and useful to look at these patterns, and to stand against them instead of insist they don’t apply to us.”
And Chrissy King so wonderfully describes how our petty little Facebook posts aren’t helping anything either, “Making a vague FB status which includes verbiage of how we all need to get along, how we are all created equal, how we need to love one another, how we need more love in the world, how sad it is that this is happening, or any other form of watered down passivity, does not count as showing up. Unless you are explicitly calling out racism, white supremacy, bigotry, and the oppression of marginalized groups of people, you have not shown up. Please don’t trick yourself into believing that you have used your voice to create change and please refrain from patting yourself on the back.”
I encourage you as a white person to read/listen to what the following people have to say about racism, white terrorism, and more:
Katherine at iambeggingmymothernottoreadthisblog.com
Also… consider donating to the cause (links from this article from WearYourVoiceMag.com):
- You can donate here to support the legal fund for the Charlottesville, VA anti-racist activists.
- Donate to the Black Student Alliance of University of Virginia fund here.
- Donate to the Legal Aid Justice Center which provides legal assistance to low-income individuals.
- If you’re striving to take steps towards being a white ally but you don’t know where to start, you can look into Safety Pin Box.
You NEED to get yourself educated and start speaking out against racism, white supremacy, bigotry, and the oppression of marginalized groups of people. You can start in your own home and in your community. It will be difficult, and it will be messy. But it needs to be done.
Start SPEAKING UP, but also start LISTENING to those who have been asking us to pay attention for so long.