I have spent countless minutes and hours racking my brain of ways to express my anger, frustration, and hurt during this time only to find myself more exhausted than when I started and still with nothing to say that will extinguish my pain of the consistent mental trauma I have witnessed of black lives not mattering enough to take a jog, be at home, or breathe; in addition to the black community dying of COVID-19 at an alarming higher rate and not to mention the dog that was almost strangled to death because of a respectful ask that led to a white woman lying on a black man, which fearfully could have resulted in yet another traumatizing video and hashtag. And what we have found, AGAIN, to be even more hurtful is the silence of our white counterparts, allies, and friends. I would like to say maybe they’re busy with quarantine but I can’t help but to feel otherwise. I can’t help but to assume that rationalization has set in with their need to know all the information first, leading to the continuous on-looking, passive, and insulting silence; even when the facts are all there! So I ask, what do we expect from our white allies, and how would they combat systemic racism that they benefit from, and why do we expect anything at all?
- “I don’t care if they post on social media, especially if they are not normally on there. But ask me if I am okay! Because (when you don’t) it makes me feel that my wellbeing and who I am holistically isn’t being taken into consideration. You cannot dismiss me being black and how these things can be traumatizing to me.” – Evelyn R.
- “The more silent they are, the angrier we get.” – Dafine J.
- “Reposting is safe. Commenting is safe. They have a certain privilege that we do not have! So Until Ellen DeGeneres and whoever else tweets/comments from the safety of their gated community is actually on the forefront between us and these individuals, their “effort” is not enough.” – Maleek M.
- Praying for her husband, “Being a black man is a hard thing to be these days. The supporting and loving black wife is also a hard thing. I am in fear that the world and others will see you as something you are not. Every time you are away, I worry that someone will misunderstand you, resulting in the end of your life. I don’t think he realized why I say thank you Jesus literally every single time he walks in the door.” - Ariele C.
- “I expect nothing.” – Kelvin M.
Before I tell you anything, let me say I am not an expert and I do not speak for every black person you see or know. I started this with the plan of providing a bulleted list of all the ways white people or allies could help, which is where the above comments came from but as I typed to further explain what we need, I realized we are beyond the easy to read bulleted list because real ones are continuously hitting us. It is simple, we need and expect acknowledgment and action!
If you are wondering why we expect something from you, it is because you all are the reason we are here. The change has to start with you because you are where the problem started. You stole us, chained us, hung us from trees, separated us from our families, terrorized us, bombed our homes and churches, stopped and frisked us, lied on us, and killed us for walking home, wearing a hoodie, holding our hands up, playing music, playing alone in the park, relaxing at home, driving with our kids, allegedly selling cigarettes, “resisting,” and jogging, we were never the issue, you are; and even when we peacefully protest with a kneel or song were labeled unpatriotic, thugs, and thrown in jail all on a Bloody Sunday. We were not the issue then and we are not the issue now.
So acknowledge the ways and reasons in how we got here such as the historical abuse and violence toward black people, an unjust judicial system built because our ancestors wanted freedom, an education system that first kept us out and then held us back, the medical field that believed we could endure more to justified experimenting on us and consistently says “you’re okay” when our bodies say were not. Acknowledge redlining us into neighbor-HOODs you never planned to fund. Acknowledge the traumas, pain, frustration, and our ability to still show up to a job where we are often questioned or second guessed. Acknowledge that racism is a systemic problem that you benefit from on every level and often hide in comfort of it. Acknowledge that our reactions are a response to your repeated afflictions, but at minimum acknowledge that racism is and has always been REAL! A real problem, a real issue, and a real concern for us all.
“This is a state of emergency and black people are dying in a state of emergency! We cannot look at this as an isolated event. And we are not responsible for the mental illness that has been inflicted on our people by the American government, institutions, and those people who are in a position of power,” and although we appreciate every post, tweet, and flying BLM flag it is time for you to use your privilege to protect us and provoke change. It is time to challenge yourself, the system, and to PULL UP because you are no longer allowed to support in comfort and call yourself an ally or friend. Check on your black colleagues, family, and friends. Beat us to the local rally, protest, or town hall meeting, call out your friends and family (in public & private) for their racist views, verbiage, comments, and post, take that petition door to door, engage in our communities by utilizing our resources and businesses, and most importantly, support and pay attention to who you are supporting politically, socially, and economically; because regardless of you being on the front lines, your P.S.E. views, tell the truth about you and what side of the line you’re really standing on!
To my beautiful black community, whose resilience has been tried and still remains true, who has “loyalty and royalty inside their DNA:” you are seen and heard. I believe in us, our magic, and strength, which has carried us thus far! I know we are mad as HELL and I would never tell you what method to use to express your hurt and anger, but please remember you cannot build the same house using different materials. No, we are not the problem but we seem to be the solution that the system, institutions, and people in power are hell-bent on keeping broken and down. And no matter how you decided to fight, know we don’t just have the power, we are power! To our sisters and brother in blue, we know there is an internal struggle for you. We see and love you too!
Let's be strategic, mobilize, and unify for every name attached to a hashtag, known and unknown, so we promise that their slain was not in vain.
Peace & Love always.