Six Responses To Black Lives Matter That White People Need To Stop Saying Immediately
Dear white people, we have to talk. I get straight to the point: there are some sentences that we no longer need to use together - without apology or explanation. This is nothing but hurtful and harmful to blacks and the racial uprising. Our words can centralize our white and do nothing to reduce racism.
Setbacks to the Black Lives Matter movement, cries for justice and awareness of racial inequalities are not helpful and downright stupid. I don't care what your intentions are. If you don't understand something, that's fine. Google it. Don't assume you're right just because you're white. Our words are powerful and we must use them wisely so as not to harm the black community.
I will give it to you directly. We are either working to be anti-racist and white allies, or we are deliberately contributing to white supremacy. There is no gray area, no in-between, no middle ground, no neutrality. If we want to work together with blacks for racial justice, if we really are for their lives, we don't have to say these things anymore.
Related Video: How To Be An Ally For Racial Equality
"I'm color blind."
No, you are not. They are not magically immune to racism or the exception to the rule. We live in a society that prefers the white - the period. You as white people contribute to this. If you say you are color blind, you are a cheater. In addition, it is dismissive not to recognize and celebrate another person's race that is different from yours. You can pretend you don't see color, but this doesn't eliminate racism or change the fact that people are treated differently based on their race. By claiming color blindness, you are trying to protect your own feelings rather than challenging the realities of racism. It is equally ridiculous to say: "We are all one race, humanity." Or: "I have nothing to feel guilty for! I had no slaves! "
"All life is important."
Systemic racism in our areas of health, education, police, housing and other systems ensures that all lives do not matter. Black people are not treated equally in their schools, during their medical appointments, during job interviews, to name just a few examples, because of their race. Until there are political changes and many more colored people in leadership positions, not all life will really matter. I believe that white people say "all life is important" because they feel that "black lives are important" excludes white people. White people are so used to being centered, believed and sustained that they find it very uncomfortable to detach themselves from them. Black Lives Matter is a movement that focuses on life that is endangered and threatened. White people are absolutely not facing the same tough battles as blacks. (Oh, and while we're dealing with this issue, reverse racism is not a real thing. Research it.)
"If black people only ..."
I've heard that so many times. White people have told me that my black children are "well" (aka: safe from police brutality and racism) if they only do the following: dress well, speak respectfully, be well educated. Racism is deeply woven into the fabric of America. By default, a black person is not safe just because they look, speak, or respond in a certain way that makes white people comfortable. (Seriously: have you seen the news?) The real problems are racism and racists, not blacks. It is easier for you to criticize their looks, language or any other part of it than to change yourself.
"... but black on black crimes!"
Are some crimes committed by blacks against other blacks? Yup. Does this have anything to do with police brutality when a white officer murders a black person? Nah. Bringing the "black-on-black crime" into a conversation is a distraction, an attempt to shift the conversation from a white person's guilt and fragility to the people who are attacked and victimized. It is a low blow, a shady move. "Black on Black Crime" has no place in talks about police injuries or kills of black people. If you are white, simply completely remove "Black on Black Crime" from your vocabulary. And please don't pretend to have an honor for your name to say ignorant, self-righteous things because you have a black friend. Tokenism brings you nothing but a serious side eye.
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"I agree with peaceful protests, but not with thugs and riots."
You prioritize your white and pretend that you can decide everything, that your opinion is most important and precise because you are white. Black people have been dealing with oppression for over 400 years and your answer is to tell them how to respond to injustice? Your level of comfort and your belief in appropriateness are irrelevant. Telling others how to process and respond to their pain is not only unproductive but also incredibly self-centered. It doesn't matter if you try to support protests, but it doesn't riot. Her white is still showing. And don't let "thugs" fall into your conversations. Our multiracial family believes that the use of the word "thug" is a newly invented form of the n-word. White people often use it to refer to colored men. It’s racist.
"DR. Martin Luther King Jr. said ..."
Do not throw MLK (I will not repeat it) in the faces of the blacks. Yes, Dr. King spoke about unity and harmony - but he also spoke about justice, protest and oppression. He was an activist with a clear goal and message. Picking King's quotes and using them to pamper white supremacy is disgusting. Oh, and while we're at it, speak to Candace Owens, Stacey Dash, or Dr. Ben Carson didn't. Choosing a handful of blacks to strike back on blacks is predictable and pathetic. Text message: Your fragility is obvious when you use one of these methods.
If we want to use our words, we have to be allies - not opponents. We need to examine what we say (and type) what is rooted in our beliefs, and stop using it as a weapon to further traumatize the blacks. If we're not sure why a particular word or phrase is racist, investigate it. Don't burden the blacks with the emotional work of explaining your white stupidity.
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