Y’all. What the hell just happened?
My White Privilege just showed itself.
I had NO IDEA that things were still SO BAD for our black brothers and sisters.
I say brothers and sisters because we are all HUMAN KIND. We are all children of God. We are all on this earth together, sharing her resources.
I am still reeling from the events that have recently unfolded…and have yet to find my words or my position…other that IT HAS TO STOP. And in order for it to change, we have to be the change. It sounds so small. And like a bumper sticker. But it literally has to stick this time. These stories we have of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown…and the list goes on.
What strikes me deeply, is that these individuals have been brutalized – killed – by the police. BUT that isn’t the only problem our black brothers and sisters have…there is a systematic injustice that is built into our country’s infrastructure. Last week, I watched “13th“…this is a documentary about the 13th Amendment and how we have FAILED to honor this Amendment…how we have skirted around it and done such a disservice to the black members of our community, members of our faith, members of our country by criminalizing them in such a way that you & I (whites) can never understand. You don’t have to have Netflix, you can watch it HERE – I highly recommend it. It’s eye opening. Well, it’s a start anyway.
BUT in reflection, when I’m not making excuses for myself, this isn’t the first I’ve “heard” about the unfairness of our system. I read a book called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson a few years ago and it is about the broken system of justice we have for our black community. What did I DO after reading it? I cried.
But then I went on my merry, white privileged way. And did nothing. Because it didn’t affect me. (If you’re not into reading, you can watch the movie for free HERE. I haven’t seen it, but it’s on my list.)
I hid behind the fact that this didn’t affect me.
My dad is a cop.
My dad (technically stepdad, but he’s been around for us forever) is in law enforcement and has been a police officer since we met him. He’s now a Police Chief in a suburb of Albuquerque, NM. And he is a good man. He stands up for what is right and has honor and integrity and leads his team by example. So I was an advocate for Blue Lives Matter because it was closer to home for me.
However, these beasts wearing the uniform who kill black people are NOT police officers; they are hiding behind a badge, but are not law enforcement officers…they are cowards.
Having family in law enforcement is not an excuse to hide behind either.
I’ve intentionally looked black people in the eye and spoke TO them. I acknowledged their presence with respect. I complimented them when I saw something beautiful in them, just like I would a person who wasn’t black. But what does that really do? Nothing. Except make me feel better about myself because I was being “inclusive”. It’s the basic dignity everybody deserves. In retrospect, it was a shitty ass form of racism that I was practicing. Reverse racism? I don’t what you’d call it. But it wasn’t ANTI-RACISM, which is what we need now.
So. What am I going to do to be a part of the change?
I cannot just hide behind my white skin anymore. And wow. Just saying that hits home. It is exactly what I’ve been doing. But I’m DONE with that.
Because, you know what? I am brokenhearted along with most of the rest of the country. (Sadly, I still can’t say the “entire” country.) There have been days in the past week or so where I just wept. I wept for the loss of lives, yes, but I also wept because my eyes were finally opened and I’m seeing what I turned my eyes away from.
And I wept, because I have a daughter who is black. So now, this situation got real close to home. It’s a shame that it took bringing home a mixed race baby to get my attention, but it has. And I’m ashamed that I didn’t pay attention earlier.
This post is not about me and my guilt and my shame…it’s about acknowledging my ignorance, and moving on to make a difference.
I don’t know WHAT I am going to do. But I’m going to lead by example. I’m going to be a force for change. I’m going to be a force for good. I’m going to be a force for God.
Jesus calls believers to pursue peace and oneness, so that is what I’m going to do. Love my neighbor includes ensuring they have justice.
IN ADDITION TO THE 99 BOOKS I’M GOING TO ORDER ON AMAZON TONIGHT, HERE ARE A FEW RESOURCES THAT I HAVE GATHERED IN ORDER TO START TO RESEARCHING WHAT RESONATES WITH ME TO GET PLUGGED IN TO. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT FIND THIS INFORMATION USEFUL TOO:
Community Change Community Change is a national organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive. communitychange.org
Emergent Fund The Emergent Fund provides resources to support grassroots organizing and power building in communities of color who are facing injustice based on racial, ethnic, religious and other forms of discrimination. See a list of the Fund’s grantees since 2017 here.
Equal Justice Initiative (IF I RECALL CORRECTLY, THIS IS THE ORGANIZATION THE AUTHOR / ATTORNEY BRYAN STEVENSON STARTED) The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. eji.org.
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.showingupforracialjustice.org
I was watching an interview the other day on Right Now Media…that if you’re at Niagra Falls and see a baby in the water you scoop it out. And another baby comes down the water, and you scoop it out and save it too…but then there is another baby, so you rescue it too…THAT IS CHARITY. Instead of just “saving babies”…it’s our job to go upstream and STOP whomever is tossing these babes into the water and THAT IS JUSTICE. I probably just butchered that example, but you can watch the short video HERE. … it’s not what you’d expect. And definitely worth your time, I promise. And VERY relevant to today. Watch until the end…the conversation around the fire at the lake is key.
So, my dearest black friends, family, brothers and sisters I have never met. I stand with you and will stand for you.