I’ll start with a quote I like from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Your goodness must have some edge to it. Else it is none.”
There are times to speak and times to stay still. I haven’t said much publicly, at least not here, about the Black Lives Matter movement and George Floyd in particular. Both because there are smarter, better, (black) voices we need to be listening to first. And still. And always. As a white person the only reason to take up the limelight here is to shine it on the people who are struggling and hurting right now.
I have also been waiting for my outrage and hurt to harden into resolve. I’ve been waiting for this hot mess inside my heart to sharpen into a will I can use to carve out practical, concrete steps to ensure this kind of thing never happens again on my watch.
All mothers, everywhere, you have been called. When George Floyd begged for his mama because he couldn’t breathe…my heart, your heart, broke. Every mother in the world needs to answer that call. It is time. We have stood by in neutrality because we’re raised polite. We’re raised to assume everyone has an opinion they are allowed to shout at the rooftops while we bend over backward to soften the edges and quiet down the controversy.
Well, that’s not our job anymore. Saving someone else’s baby – that’s our job now.
Our job is to make sure no more non-white boys and girls need to be scared they’re going to be the next one to be murdered in public. If that feels strong to you, it should. This is a problem that has gone on for hundreds of years. It isn’t okay. It’s never been okay, and it needs to stop. https://time.com/5851855/systemic-racism-america/
Here are the concrete ways we can stop this:
Move Money – We don’t need to call a police officer carrying a gun for a homeless man outside a Wendy’s, or a person who may or may not have known he was carrying a counterfeit $20 bill. We don’t need to pay police less – we need less police crack down on minor crimes. No one deserves to die for a broken headlight, vagrancy, or ‘attitude’. There are social programs who can deal with mental health, vagrancy, and other minor, non violent crimes. If we can find the money to fund them properly.
As an aside – I’ve seen a police car exactly once in my neighborhood in the 5 years I’ve lived here – and you know when that was? When we had a door-to-door (black) man selling books for his university. The police car pulled up to my driveway and he called from the car ‘You Okay Ma’am?’ Yes. Please carry on. And what were you saying about white privilege my friends? FYI it doesn’t mean you were born rich – it means you were born white.
Black neighborhoods are disproportionally over policed while their social and community programs are gutted in congress and fail for lack of support and funding.
Move Legislation – There are way smarter people than me talking about how we can make lasting changes to the laws in our land. From barring choke holds to reducing prison sentences for minor crimes to introducing rehabilitation programs to giving the Fair Housing and Equal Credit laws upgrades.
Not sure what I mean? Please see links below:
Move your Butt – If you can’t get out and protest safely you can read a book:
How to Be an Antiracist By Ibram X. Kendi (https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist)
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
The New Jim Crow (Michelle Alexander) Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad.
Lastly – we may not ever be able to convince the Karen’s of the world that black and people of color’s lives matter but we can confront our own inherent racism. Once you accept you are a part of a system of oppression that has hurt millions of people, only then you can start to make things better for everyone. This isn’t just a Black Lives Matter movement – this is a Human Rights Movement and until all of our children are safe, none of our children are safe.
Really lastly but certainly not least, we can speak up when we see racisim in others. Because avoiding a confrontation over race and racism? Yeah – we’re not doing that anymore.