Originally posted on a private website
Hi, white people, I’m white, too. You may be feeling nervous already,
I’ve called upon you by race. If you’re feeling anxious, hang in there.
This is important for your well being and that of everyone around you.
About a week ago in Ferguson, MO, Mike Brown was shot by police. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/09/ferguson-teen-police-shooting_n_5665305.html)
Mike Brown was someone’s son. A human being. He was an 18 year old
black male youth. Walking down the street. And now he is gone forever.
Police in Ferguson unleashed violence at protests and vigils leading
to days of rioting. People in Ferguson and surrounding areas are
defending their homes, their town, their lives. Sometimes with violence (https://twitter.com/zellieimani/status/498700754577010689), sometimes by holding space passively, sometimes by speaking out, sometimes by remaining silent.
Frankly, I believe that when police kill kids and youth and anyone
for being black and outdoors, they should fear that the city will burn.
I am asking you, white people, to imagine a world where your
brothers, fathers, sons, cousins, friends, lovers, and family are at
risk of murder by the state for existing within a certain race. Where
your schools, pay checks, access to medical care, and daily safety are
all inadequate, degenerating, or nonexistent due to your race.
I am asking you not to make excuses or use respectability politics as the media (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/media-black-victims_n_5673291.html) and police (http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/2014/08/things-stop-distracted-black-person-gets-murdered-police/)
have attempted to. It does not matter if this kid stole cigars (even
though the officer who murdered him admits he did not stop Brown on the
street for suspicion of robbery (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/15/us/missouri-teen-shooting/index.html)).
I don’t care if he stole cigars every day of his 18 years of life. It
does not matter how he walked, talked, what time of day he was out, what
he wore, or who he associated with. There is no reason why police
should shoot unarmed black youth with their hands in the air. And they
do (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/13/lapd-suggests-mentally-il_0_n_5675782.html). Every day.
I am asking you to realize that this is part of a larger system. A
system you are part of. So, speak out against police violence and
brutality, but don’t stop there. Please call your white friends and
coworkers out when they say racist shit. Use your white privilege (http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person)
to make space for people of color. Challenge your own internalized
racism. We all have it. Acknowledge people of color, talk to them,
listen to them, say fucking hello. Shake hands. Challenge the racist
assumptions you are taught to make about black men or black women or
black trans people or any people of color. Unlearn that shit. Because
we’re part of this. It is OUR responsibility to dismantle this. To make
space for people of color. To rip this racist system to shreds.
So, the next time you hear an excuse for why it was ok for a white
cop to shoot another black kid or black man or to beat another pregnant
woman of color or to murder another trans woman of color, ask yourself
what reasoning would be good enough if it was your family, your partner,
your community, or you.
Unlearning racism and white supremacy is liberating for everyone,
including white people. Make the world better for you and everyone else.
Racism affects you, white people. And you can help stop it.
Want to read more about racism and white supremacy and how to unlearn it? Here is a good place to start: http://wwhatsup.wordpress.com/study-group-readings.