Did that get your attention? Because it sure as shit got mine when I read the comment on my Facebook page… but we’ll get to that later.
As a privileged white girl living in a Desperate Housewives looking neighborhood in Arizona, it would be oh so easy for me to bury my head in the sand, or look at the violent riots that have incited and say something as simple as, “more hate isn’t the answer.”
Of course, I agree with that sentiment… more hate is certainly not the answer, but the statement itself is ignorant when not followed by any educated point of view.
This is not to say I have any real sense of the deep wounds people of color have experienced since the very beginning, but with the power of technology, I do, fortunately, have the ability to learn… and unlearn what my subconscious has picked up year after year, in my efforts to incorporate an anti-racist mentality.
To be transparent, though, I didn’t prioritize this desire when my friend reached out asking if I wanted to read Layla Saad’s Me & White Supremacy.
“I have a lot of writing to do; I’m not sure I can make it happen,” I responded.
Then, within hours, I watched the video. The video that would change everything. George Floyd’s neck being crushed by a white officer’s knee while other policemen watched as he began wheezing, “I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe.”
I felt the anger boil inside of me, then felt even more anger thinking about how frequently these inhumane acts occur; how Colin Kaepernick tried to tell us, at which point I was willing to post something with a Black Lives Matter hashtag and re-post some beautifully crafted digital art that someone from the black community carefully curated… showing just how much I supported the movement. I supported it enough to learn nothing about it.
Now, though, I’m determined to make this time matter; to force myself to get uncomfortable and even embarrassed about what I’ve been blind to for so long. I’ve taken the advice from the black community, urging those of us with white privilege (so, everyone with white skin) to speak out and have the conversation with other white people — to be part of the change — to WAKE UP.
After reading Layla’s first chapter, The Work, I did some reflective journaling, answering questions about how I’ve benefited simply from having white skin, and how I’ve avoided negative situations because I don’t have black skin. This is a 28 day challenge, so I’m sure I will be much more enlightened by the end of the month, but even reviewing my initial assertions were devastating.
I am privileged not to be suspected of a crime just because of my skin color.
If I say something stupid, no one will attribute it to my skin color.
If I have body odor, no one will think it’s because I’m white.
If I apply for a loan that gets denied I can be sure it’s not because of my skin color.
The list goes on.
So, I posted something urging people to step up with me and here’s one of the responses I received.
“Black oppression is a myth at least in today’s society. It’s a trope conjured up by media portals to sell a compelling narrative that pulls at the heart strings. It is basically propaganda. You Devon have never oppressed a black person nor has any black person you know ever been oppressed. It’s all fairytales. black people aren’t the problem the problem is the media infrastructure that profits off false narratives.”
To which I respond — no, the problem is not with the media infrastructure — the problem is with you and your ignorance.
Black lives fucking matter and it’s time we SHOW IT.