This is a horrifying time in our world. American racism does not stop for a virus. Police murdering black men in broad daylight does not stop for a virus. So those of us that can put on masks and head to the barricades, go protest. Those of us with financial means, go donate. Those of us that have a platform on social media, go write. We will spread awareness. We will have conversations with people who need to be educated on these matters. We fight, we fight, we fight.
I am further horrified looking at all of the ridiculous posts I see on social media from other white people. This is not a time to make about us. This is not a time to share your opinion of systemic racism, to use “black on black crime” to negate the issues at hand, or to argue that “not all cops are bad” and “not all white people are racist.” Do not say you’re surprised a cop killed George Floyd for no reason. It shows how out of touch you are with the reality of racism in America. Please stop, listen, and be humble. We have a lot to learn, and none of us are perfect or immune to this. An important and relevant quote:
It is exhausting to face oppression. It’s exhausting to educate people on why you don’t deserve to be killed by the police. It should not have to be the job of people being oppressed to go through the emotional labor of educating ignorant people on these matters. To the people being oppressed these conversations hit home. It is a matter of life or death. Meanwhile, we are watching from the sidelines, thinking we’re just engaging in a “healthy debate” on “politics.” This is unfortunately the view point many white people are coming from on these matters.
The American educational system reduced the civil rights movement (and most of our history, honestly) to what is palatable to white people. MLK “peacefully” protesting and Rosa Parks sitting down is considered to be the pinnacle of black activism to most of white America. They don’t teach you about the riots. They don’t teach you that MLK was the most hated man of his time. They don’t teach you that after he was assassinated, there were over a month of riots that resulted in bills finally being passed. They don’t teach you that oppression leaves you feeling like you’re running out of options. They don’t teach you that women didn’t get the right to vote until the suffragettes quite literally set off bombs. They don’t teach you that the Stonewall riots resulted in gay rights finally being acknowledged. They don’t teach you that disabled people didn’t have any rights until they took over an office building and refused to move for 28 days.
You want marginalized people to be ‘peaceful?’ Then listen to us. Don’t make us have to resort to this.
It is not enough to acknowledge the privilege we have because of our race. To be decent allies, we need to use our privilege only in ways that fight & make change. Activism takes many, many different forms. Here are just a few ways to help:
- Protest. If you have the time off from work / child care resources / physical means, go. The more numbers, the larger the message. POC have to worry exponentially more than us about being arrested and harassed by the police at protests.
- Donate. George Floyd fund. Ahmaud Arbery fund. Breonna Taylor fund. Community bail funds to help protesters. NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Further resources organized by state can be found here.
- Support black-owned businesses. Resource to find black owned bookstores, wellness companies, beauty brands, etc. can be found here.
- Join/read up on news from activist organizations. Some of many: The Movement for Black Lives. Until Freedom. Reclaim Philadelphia. Antiracist Research and Policy Center.
- Educate yourself. Again, it is exhausting for marginalized people to continually have to educate people on why they deserve basic human rights. Don’t expect the black people in your lives to always be ready to go through the emotional labor of teaching people how to not be racist. Learn genuine black history (not the stuff you learned in elementary school), and learn about how racism currently functions. You can access a plethora antiracism and educational resources here. Podcasts, articles, documentaries, you name it.
- Educate your family & friends. Have the difficult conversations. Share things on social media. Call out racism when you see it. We have a lot less at stake.
- VOTE. Elections are coming. Do not let your vote go to waste, please use it to remove racist and uneducated people out of office. Obviously most pressing is getting Trump out of the White House, but presidential elections are not the only ones that matter. Voting for local government is IMPORTANT. The right to vote took years to attain, and some marginalized communities are still fighting for it.
Please feel free to comment more resources that may be helpful, I will update the list as we move forward. May we work toward getting out of these horrid times. We stand (or sit) with you.