Yes. Pastor dropped the f-bomb. Sometimes it is the only word that will fucking do.
So here’s the deal. All of us–especially all of us who benefit from white supremacy culture–need to realize something: the days in which people of color are going to heed calls to nonviolence are running short. And the days in which those calls can be ethically defended are drawing to a close. Enough bodies. Enough terror. Enough murder. Enough justification. Enough protection of the murders. Enough. Enough. Enough. I see my friends of color–particularly large black men–and I want to hug them and not let them go because I’m afraid this might be the last time I see them. Dramatic? No. Dramatic is this cold shit right here.
And then there are asshats like this guy here (I’ll save you the time; he trots out that tired trope of “where’s the outrage by BLM when blacks kill others blacks,” an argument easily refuted):
There is a fatigue bordering on trauma among POC because every time there is an incident involving a shooting death they have to expend energy simply to defend the idea that racism exists. Despite the fact that we can see knees pressed against chests until breathing stops; we can see the gunshots take down a man in a Wal-Mart; we can hear voices saying “I can’t breathe”or ” Don’t shoot,” and despite this there are still masses of White Americans who think they face just as much racism or who claim that President Obama is the source of racism. These are the ludicrous arguments that spew forth from right wing circles that are picked up by the national media. Not that the system isn’t set up to protect a vast majority of citizens. Not that it defined some human beings as a fraction of a person. You can’t reform that; you can’t massage a system that fundamentally denies the full humanity of an entire group of people. You can’t add eggs to a fully-baked cake.
White supremacy is a vicious lie, and not just for POC but also for those of us who are lumped into the category as well. I’m sorry, but my Irish ancestors had a very different life experience than did my Finnish ancestors. Go ahead and call an Irishman a Brit or tells a Scotsman that there’s no difference between Scotland and Wales, and you’ll see how much of a difference there really is. We find our cultural and ethnic histories lumped together under this dubious designate “WHITE,” and we are told lies to keep us complacent with economic and political abuse. We are told that we’re royalty, at least racially, so any clamoring or crying for equality by others seems like an attack on us. On our culture. On our heritage. But that is a lie, too. A lie that sends the poor to die in wars that make wealthy men richer. A lie that skews our educations from the time we are young children; lies that we have to proactively disentangle ourselves from to realize the brutality and odious racism that undergirds the American project. We are told that democracy is capitalism, but the so-called free market was built on the literal slavery of human beings, and since emancipation on the cultural pillaging of Black culture for White consumption. We are told that freedom is our birthright and that good, patriotic Americans fought and died so that we can be free. We have been sold a bill of goods and taught abhorrent versions of what is truth, freedom, and the American way.
The survival of White supremacy culture rests upon one major factor: White people allowing it to continue. We have to use our privilege until we don’t have it anymore. Until the last vestiges of this foul, stinking fistula have been lanced and wiped away. And we cannot wait. We cannot continue to ask POC to suffer the brunt of White supremacy, to helplessly watch as the bodies pile up. We don’t have that right. We don’t have the right to dictate their actions or responses. We are not the ones who are dying. We are not the ones who have to wonder if this trip to the store is the last one we make. If our own lives will be thrust into the spotlight, like a corpse left on the streets for eight hours, to label us as thugs, criminals, miscreants, who deserved to be killed for grabbing some Skittles, or playing with a toy in a front yard, or selling cigarettes, or CDs, or putting our legal firearm on the dashboard of the car, or…for EWB. Existing While Black.
I have the luxury of being committed to nonviolence. At any moment, I can simply shut up and try to blend into the background if the fight for equality becomes too much. I can preach turn the other cheek because I choose to, because I’m enabled to, because the risk is less for me. No one is forcing me to make a stand. I cannot ask those who are the victims of systematic and systemic oppression to use their bodies as fodder or their lives as the down payment on inordinately delayed justice.
Today I am on a conference call for a nationwide project on teaching white privilege to fellow whites, having honest and difficult conversations, and then partnering with communities of color to help transform the system. Let me be clear about my intentions: I am willing to be a leader where it is appropriate for me to lead. But part of this process of recognizing privilege and using it to assist is knowing when others need to lead, to speak, to direct the movement. I commit myself to being an ally, to doing what I can, to continuing to learn, to confronting my own racism, and to assisting my fellow citizens in dismantling the system that keeps far too many people oppressed.
Because FUCK white supremacy.