TRIGGER WARNING – You may not like this post. If this post makes you angry, you can feel free to stop reading my blog because we obviously do not resonate with each other. If this post makes you uncomfortable, I encourage you to sit with discomfort explore those feelings.
It’s not easy to see oneself. It’s not easy to see things in ourselves we do not like, be open and willing to change. I do, however, think it’s important to admit when we are wrong. I think it’s important to say we didn’t fully understand and state it out loud. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”
A few years back, I was critical of Colin Kapernick taking a knee at NFL games during the National Anthem. I was critical because I felt it wasn’t the right venue for him to make a political statement. I remember saying, “Playing football is his job. Most employers would not tolerate protests while on the job.” I see now I just didn’t understand why he was doing it because I grew up with White Privilege.
I grew up in a largely Irish Catholic neighborhood in Philadelphia. All of my childhood friends were white. I attended an all girl catholic prep school for high school which also all white. Honestly, I think I was born a Liberal so I always had an open mind. I also had a social conscious since I was young. So, when I got to La Salle University, I was an activitist for Amnesty International, Green Peace and various other organizations. I’ve donated part of my salary to charities since I was teenager. I guess I am trying to say I was more open minded than most in my family and my community. But I realize now that I must have carried some of their bias with me because I just couldn’t see why Colin Kapernick taking knee was so important to his community and the world.
In the last four years, racial tensions have been stoked by POTUS. As I’ve been opening my eyes to division he is creating, I am becoming enraged by the suffering he is creating for the black community. His actions are creating an environment where privileged white people, in and out of law enforcement, think it’s ok to murder black people openly without consequences. As I watch this happen, I walk around with tears in my eyes most days. It has to stop. Four police officers held down George Floyd for 8 minutes with one having a knee in his neck. Regardless of whether he committed a so called crime he was telling them he couldn’t breathe. For the last 2:43 minutes he held him down, he was unconscious. It was murder… How else would you explain it? One officer committed murder the other three were accomplices. All should be charged. Losing their jobs isn’t enough.
Watching this explode in the last few days, I feel for my black friends and coworkers who have sons and daughters. I empathize with them because I imagine they worry every day their child leaves the house. I reached out this morning to a coworker/friend. She is black and she has a son in his 20s who is a musician. I reached out to her this morning because I wanted her to know I see and understand now. I said I know she must worry every day about him and I am here to use my white privilege voice to stand in solidarity with her.
I empathize because it is morally wrong for any nation who calls themselves a democracy to allow this to continue. However, you must refrain from violence when protesting. You must be smart to win this racial war. You must be strategic and calculating with your words. You must peacefully protest or you no better than your oppressor.
To my black fellow Americans, I AM IN this fight with you. I am on your side. I will use my White Privilege to be your voice and if given the opportunity, I would stand in a line like the line in the below photo to protect you. I am sorry I didn’t wake up to your suffering sooner.
I was listening to my favorite group from the 70s, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, today. OHIO and Wooden Ships The below songs especially seem to revelant to what’s going on in our world today.
Won’t you join me in using our White Privilege to help our fellow black Americans change the world with non-violence?
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