In 2017 Talib Kweli dropped an album called Radio Silence. I feel like that’s what the black community is receiving in response to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile and so many others. No response… and the black community already knows this. It is, however time for white people to get it too.
What do you do when you feel like you’re on one side of the line with the majority of the world on the other side. Maybe we are all a product of our environments. Or are we a reflection of our hearts? Maybe I’m on the right side as a white person, because I simply know right from wrong. There is a line, and it’s time for everyone to decide which side they are on, because this isn’t that hard. There is one common thread that determines where you stand, and that is simply racism.
It’s not ridiculous at all to feel anxiety and hurt, or talk about this situation no matter your race. More people should be talking about this right now.
More white people, specifically…. could be talking about this. How this is causing them anxiety because they are on the same side of the line as their black friends. This is painful, this hurts. Another black life without justice is not who we are as a country, not this time, or in the future.
Here is reality — because of the color of my skin, what I represent physically is a large part of the “brand” of this country. The injustices of suffering passed down from European generations who have whitewashed Earth’s history. (I’m Polish and Italian and my family arrived through Ellis Island). Whether I wanted to or not, I’ve carried the weight of these injustices in the pigment of my skin.
Here’s something real, and it’s probably going to hard for many of my own family members to read:
Growing up in a white family, I heard racist jokes and comments… Yes, members of my own family were racist, and I heard white kids in high school say racist shit when they weren’t around black people. The reason? Someone was making it ok. I made it OK by not expressing how that shit made me feel (I was never really one to speak up about anything). I made it ok, by not speaking my mind, for not speaking up for the silent. I didn’t look at other white people and speak up for black people as if I was in their shoes. However, now, I feel like that is what is necessary. Zero tolerence. I can’t take this knowledge and experience back to high school, but at least I can teach my son to stand up for those who aren’t around. At least that is something that all of us can do.
I’m not saying this to judge my family or past aquaintences on every experience in my life — I’m saying this because racism is a slippery slope.
Making a joke “OK” in one circle can lead to making murder “OK” in another.
Because both come from the ill intent of the heart. Ahmaud Abery’s killers are likely someone’s uncles, they are someone’s white family members, they are likely somebody’s friends and they were somebody’s school mates and they could have been mine. The same type of people who protect their friends’ racist remarks, protect Ahmauds killers in their house right now. They are likely surrounded by people justifying their actions.
How many white Americans can tell this same story? Probably most. Racism exists everywhere there is discrimination, but what exists in the heart of the observer that breeds it and makes it grow, or makes it stop right now. Discrimination is necessary in nature, and in life. Racism is not. You can have discrimination without hate, how does a bee know which flower it prefers?
Racism cannot exist without hate. So whether it be a murder, or a joke, the intent of the heart is what matters. The way to stop it, is to not tolerate it, not even a little, and speak up for those that need it.
Through no fault of my own, no matter where I grew up, or what my personal story is, the weight and karma of my ancestry lives within my cells, but was never in my heart. Regardless I feel a responsibility to share this reality.
So with that… It is my opinion that it is not black communities who should be marching for Ahmaud. It isn’t black people who should be on the lawns of the killers demanding justice.
Black communities shouldn’t have to do this work anymore.
It is white people. Droves of them, should be fighting for justice for Ahmaud. Because this is the result of centuries of their actions. The entitlement of white people thinking that freedom means their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only applying to those who look like them.
There is an opportunity now to stand up for what has never been before… It is white people who should be speaking up around other white people, for black people.
Incredible change has never happened by being silent. If you are on the right side of the line, make noise. If you aren’t, you only have to take a step, and then make noise. This is easier to fix than you think.
To help, please visit runwithmaud.com and complete the action steps. Also to help, if you are white, talk about black issues to your white friends and family members, and stand up for black people when they aren’t present, teach young white children to do the same. Also, talk to your black friends and fight with them. End the RADIO SILENCE.