A Message About Racism To White People From A Frustrated Black Man

Photo: Courtesy of the author
Buzz, Self

When you hear us say, "Black Lives Matter," don't see it as a threat; see it as an opportunity.

I think it's time we had a talk. You may not want to listen, you may not want to care, but I can assure you, we'll both be better off if you did.

For so long, and especially now, we've spent more time talking at each other than to each other. Life in America may be relatively better for all of us than it was 30 or 40 years ago, but better doesn't automatically mean good.

We aren't living the good life, no matter what they tell us on TV.

As I write this, yet another unarmed black man is gunned down for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, your first inclination may be one of frustration that something like this is in the news or clogging up your timelines on Facebook and Twitter, but believe me, I'm frustrated, too.

We're both frustrated for different reasons. Something has to give and until you listen to me and I listen to you, we aren't going to get anywhere and resentment  much like the dead bodies of black kids  will continue to pile up.

You might expect that I'm going to blame you, white man, for all the troubles in the world but that's not what I'm here to do because that's where much of the dialogue is lost. The point is not to indict white people, particularly white men, for all of society's ills, because so much of it is not your fault.

The average white man in America today isn't a racist.

He's not a homophobe, and he's not necessarily an active misogynist. The average white man, by my best guess, is probably pretty bothered that everyone seems to be dog-piling on him over every little thing.

Even superheroes can't be white anymore, right? Marvel is making an Iron Fist television show for Netflix and plenty of people think he should be Asian, even if he wasn't in the comic books. Even traditionally white characters in comics are being replaced with black people and women.

What's the value of being white these days if you can't even hold on to your iconography in order to feed the beastdragon known as "diversity"?

Is it your fault that the world is folding in on itself? Is it your fault that there's terrorism, and rape, and inequality, and murder in the streets? How is this your fault, right? 

But that's how privilege works. You don't have to do anything to benefit from something.

You may not be a racist, a sexist, or anything in-between but you benefit from a system built on these dark principles forged by men who looked a lot like you, and today, may even look you yourself, though you may not be actively oppressing anyone. But guess what? Someone else, who looks a lot like you, is.

And again, it's not your fault. But if you aren't willing to combat it, you're every bit as guilty.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get to the meat of my message to you.

While you, yourself may feel the heat of blame for things that you personally aren't responsible for, you're in a unique position to use the privilege that others built for you to do something tremendously righteous — and it won't cost you a single dime, or at least it doesn't have to.

When you hear us say, "Black Lives Matter," don't look at it as a threat; look at it as an opportunity.

Part of our current struggles with one another is based in how one side tunes the other side out as soon as something is mentioned that disagrees with the worldview of the side that does the tuning out.

If we say Black Lives Matter, accept that they do, and do it knowing that such a statement doesn't discount the value of your life as a white man.

This isn't a movement about hate or violence, no matter what took place in Dallas or in Kansas City. This is a movement about justice for all by ensuring the end of justice for some.

If you aren't a racist, prove it by confronting those who look like you who absolutely are. If you're tired of hearing Black Lives Matter, the best way to end that talk is by standing with us as equals, ensuring that your voice is heard alongside ours to fight back the forces of hate.

I know it's easy to give into whatever it is that will bring you the most peace in the quickest fashion. I know you don't want to be blamed for things that you personally didn't do, but if you stand to the side and do nothing or you shout down those who are seeking justice, how are you any different than the actual villains?

Why are you concerned with Making America Great Again, when you can't even work together with the rest of us to Make America Better?

I believe there is a Golden Path for us all, but the key to that path is not found in the past. If we are to truly shine (and by that, I mean all of us, regardless of any of the things that make us different) we must forge ahead together.

I don't hate white people. I work with white people, I eat next to white people, I enjoy films with white people. While we are different, and our differences are part of our identity, I consider white people to be every bit as important as I consider myself because yes, we are all people, we are all human beings.

To say that we should be colorblind is a cop-out because I don't think that the cost of harmony should be loss of identity, and neither should you.

Assimilation is illogical when we have so much to be proud of within each of our cultures, and yes, white people, that includes you. Set aside all the things you have done next to all the things that we have done because everyone screws up, even to the point of genocide.

The next step is up to you, believe it or not.

We can get past the whole Trump thing because he's a product of fear: Fear of a future where white people are no longer top of the heap. But no longer being masters shouldn't cause fear you will now be at the bottom. The Golden Path can exist for us all, but only if we do it together.

Stand with us. Work with us. Help us.

The world is full of corruption and violence, and everything we never hoped would exist, but does. Together we have a fighting chance. Together we can back off the brink and address the issues in all of our communities — not with spite, but with determination.

This is not a kumbaya train of thought. This isn't about sunshine and flowers. This is about hard work, and white people doing their part as much as they think we should do ours.

We can reach the Golden Path, I promise you but first, you have to stand with us, even if that means kneeling with us. America is so much more than a flag and a song. America is more than the lives lost trying to defend its interests. America is more than eagles and 9/11.

America is you and me. It is our flesh, our blood and our sweat. We cannot be enemies if we hope to hold the very notion of this land together. The Golden Path starts with us, it starts now.

The next move is yours.


This article was originally published at Never Daunted. Reprinted with permission from the author.


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