I don’t know if I’m your flavor, but …
It was those words that got my attention when my future husband first emailed me on an online dating site. His words got my attention, and I found his way of finding out if I dated outside my race charming and kind. He left me a chance to ignore, or reply without making me feel bad about it.
Luckily for both of us, while I had never dated outside my race, I was not against it and found him funny, kind, and interesting (not to mention, he didn’t send me any unsolicited nudes, nor did he ask me for any nudes, a refreshing change of pace when online dating).
Fast-forward almost seven years later and we are happily married and he has woken me from my white privilege world and showed me that there is more to life than being white and having your head in the sand.
For him, and for so many other people of color, this type of racism and hatred is nothing new. For some of us white people it is awakening something inside of us that we have long been avoiding, something that feels shameful at times, it feels uncomfortable, but when you get through that discomfort you are awakened to something that makes you both sad and angry.
The killing of George Floyd is only one of many in recent years. But I think what has made it such a catalyst of protesting and anger is a few things. I think that because the officer was so blatant in his disregard for Floyd’s life. The way he put his hands in his pockets and just stared ahead, totally detached from the pleas Floyd made as he lay dying. If you have seen the video, you know it’s utterly heartbreaking. But it’s also terrifying that someone could be in law enforcement and have such utter disregard tor human life.
There is a lot that we, as a culture, are unpacking about recent events. There are riots from supposed groups that aren’t at all interested in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. There are protests with peaceful and powerful moments of silence. Where people are just trying to make their voices heard.
I hear you. We hear you.
Do not let those that think people of color, LGBTQ+, women, et cetera are less than human dissuade you from your mission. I will not let their loudness keep me from speaking the truth, from listening to those who’s struggles are not my own, but who have struggled in ways I cannot understand. I will not let their loudness and their cruelty keep me hidden in fear. I will always stand on the right side of this — and do not mistake, there is a right and a wrong side of this issue.
Your life matters. Human lives matter.
I will not say that “all lives matter” because quite frankly, that isn’t true in our culture. If you look at how Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, Gay, Trans and African Americans are all treated then no one with any kind of awakening to the truth can say that their lives seem to matter to some. When you say all lives matter, you are lying, and you are minimizing the struggles of anyone who isn’t rich, white, male and racist.
I don’t say these things to say I hate men, I hate white people, or I hate rich people. No. I say these things knowing I am speaking in broad generalities. But I also say these things because they are true. If you are offended by the movement, perhaps you need to sit down and check your bias. Check your privilege and find out if you are perhaps offended because you have some issues. You have some unconscious bias created by the systematic racism in this country that maybe you don’t want to admit, maybe you are ashamed, or maybe you think it’s normal and perfectly acceptable because “those people” cause trouble.
Check your privilege people.
If you are offended, you aren’t paying attention. Learn, listen and understand it.
If you are uncomfortable, great, stay that way, fight through it, understand it. Learn, listen, and help where you can.
We are all humans in this fight, and we can’t step off the gas when things get hard or another news story takes precedence. Keep fighting, keep learning, and speak truth.
When we shine a light on the darkness, it crumbles to nothing. So let’s keep shining a light and let’s work to make sure no more are murdered, no more are beaten down, no more are afraid.
Let’s keep this fight going until humanity is synonymous with equality.
With that in mind, remember to VOTE in November.