There is a serious problem going on in America today.And if good white people do not realize the issues facing our country today and do not wake up, they will be dooming us to failure.
So what are the urgent problems that caused me to utilize a slogan typically used by white supremacist assholes? The problems are the issue of racism, the existence of multiple systems of justice in this country, ignoring your privilege, and those people who are not seeking to fix those three problems in a meaningful way.
In Charlotte last week another mass murder happened. It was another example of a white person going on a killing spree and getting arrested with no harm done to him. Tamir Rice, a black child waiving a toy gun in a park, was rolled up on and shot immediately without any warning. He had not killed anybody. But he died at the hands of police. John Crawford III was in a Walmart with a pellet gun. The police were called. In the middle of the first warning to drop the weapon, an officer raised his and killed another black man. Again, this was a black man who had killed nobody and had not shown himself to be a threat to anyone. Regardless, he is dead.
Yet the shooter in Charleston proved himself to be a danger to others. When apprehended no harm came to him. In fact, it is now being reported that the police brought Roof to Burger King to get a bit to eat on the way to prison. Granted, some might suggest that such a meal might amount to torture. But Freddie Grey died on his way to Jail in Baltimore. Why shouldn’t we view our system of justice as a fractured one?
Want more examples of multiple systems of justice in this country? Look at the black man who was submitting to arrest peacefully who got a kick in the head for his compliance. White men can openly carry and a police officer asks polite questions of them. Black men cannot. Jimmy Joe Berggren reached into a cop car in a police station and grabbed an AR 15 and was arrested and charged after being told three times to put the gun down. Do you believe a black man doing that would have also been arrested and called a “gentleman” by officers? Or do you believe he would have been shot on sight.
When black people do things that are wrong, we often hear that they need to be introspective on how the black community may have contributed to the actions of one bad actor. However, when white people do wrong, they are allowed to be the only one blamed. Nobody asks white communities to look inward at the harm their actions could cause. Nobody asks white Americans to take any sort of responsibility in how their actions (or inaction) leads to violence by other whites. And I think I have figured out why. Society views whiteness as “good”. And if whiteness is good then it must not be the fault of other whites if something goes wrong with one. It must be an exception. But society views blackness as bad. Black people are considered guilty until proven innocent. So if a black person does wrong, it must be because he is a product of his environment. This is one of the major problems in society that white people need to wake up to .
So what can good white people do to wake up? This is not an exhaustive list but it is a good start.
A) Listen. When someone says that something you, or someone else, said (or did) was hurtful and racist, don’t automatically get defensive. Take a moment and try to understand what the other person is feeling. Recognize that the life experiences of that other person and yours are not likely to match. As such that person may react differently to things that you may find tame. I am not saying you have to agree with the other person all the time. But if you take the time to listen and try to understand, you may find that you get along better. You might also learn something.
B) Accept your privilege and work to fight it. You should not, as a white person, feel guilty for being born white. It is not your fault that you have the privilege of being white (and as such you are less likely to be stopped and frisked because of your race by a police officer, you are less likely to be pulled over for driving while black, and you are less likely in general to be treated as guilty until proven innocent by the police). When someone says you have privilege, it is because other people do not. And while you are not to blame for having privilege or even benefiting from it, you are to blame if you sit back and do nothing. You are to blame if you do not work to fix the system that perpetuates that certain people will have road blocks placed in their way simply because of the nature of their birth.
And finally the last suggestion I have is to make their problem your problem. Our country will never fully be united as long as white people continue to look at problems that happen to minorities as problems that happen to those other people. If another person of color is shot and killed, take it personally. Say “one of my people was shot and killed today” and when people ask what you mean by “your people” say “a human being”. White people are the most capable of effecting this sort of change. Why? Because when persons of color try to move that boulder, they are downhill from that rock. They are pushing that rock uphill. White people who do not work to fix the problem are basically pushing the rock down hill, a much easier task (and one that will roll over all those trying to push). But if those entrenched white people also help pull from their dug in positions, the rock is more easily moved and it enables other people to reach the high ground. So this is why you, good white people, need to take the responsibility and fight for what your country should be, and that is a place where all people are treated equally and fairly.
A white guy .