Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! For the next 28 days, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.
Dear White People,
It hurts and sucks to see so many of you be so quiet about the things going on in our nation and our world. The killings of unarmed Black men by police over and over and over. The water crisis in Flint. Misogynistic and discriminatory language, behavior and orders by the person running for and elected to the most powerful position in the land.
Is it because you’re not aware? It’s hard to understand how you could miss it … but if that’s the case, I encourage you to seek out some new and different news sources. Try BlackNews, BlackAmericaWeb, NewsOne, AmFramNews as a start.
Is it because you’re not sure if you’re even allowed to have or express an opinion? Well, you absolutely are! We all have opinions. Sometimes opinions are based on experiences coupled with thorough research. Sometimes opinions are just a gut reaction not based in anything experienced or researched. Before sharing the latter, do some of the former.
Is it because you’re afraid of being judged for your reaction? As long as you’re on the right side, there is nothing to fear! And by “right side” I absolutely mean openly disagreeing with these outcomes, rejecting the behavior and people who committed the acts, and demanding justice for the people who were harmed. That is the only acceptable reaction to blatant atrocities. No one should judge you for feeling outrage or sympathy or both.
If your fear is being judged for feeling outrage and sympathy or both, you might need new friends. Cuz my White friends don’t judge for stuff like that. I’ll be happy to make intros.
My White friends understand the importance of using their privilege to bring awareness and speak out against these issues. They know it is not OK to sit on the sidelines while people are hurting and being hurt. They know the only way they’ll gain understanding is to ask the tough questions, listen to the answers and be willing to be uncomfortable during the process. And they know they have to do this over and over and over and over and over and over again. They are willing to do this because they recognize that I’m uncomfortable every day and want to see a world where that isn’t the case for me and people like me.
Is it because it doesn’t directly impact you or the people you hold dearest? If so, you need to check your privilege. Because being indifferent to a problem because it doesn’t personally impact you is the living definition. We all experience certain privileges in life. Whites over People of Color. Light skinned people over Dark skinned people. Men over Women. The Abled over the Disabled. The Wealthy over the Poor … We do not often get to choose our privileged areas. But we absolutely choose to use our privilege to help others or ignore them. Now more than ever, we need people choosing to help, especially White people.
That’s not to say that Black people or any other minority group needs the help of White people to succeed. History has proven that is completely untrue. But White support for equality is absolutely helpful.
My fear is the help will not come. That the difficult conversations will never happen and understanding will never be reached. That we’ll stay separate and unequal. That fear of discomfort and judgment will keep everyone clutching to their privilege in neutral corners. That we’ll just keep repeating this ugly cycle.
And for these reasons, I can no longer keep quiet.
Dear White people, please join the conversation and the movement.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 3 – What Woke Means to Me