A letter to my silent white brothers and sisters.
To my white brothers and sisters who have denied racial policing, racial profiling, and categorized the Black Lives Matter movement as a terrorist/fringe group: thank you for letting me know where you stand.
To my white brothers and sisters who have stayed silent, content with the status quo, and to those good, honest, men and women of integrity in blue who do not denounce their fellow officer’s transgressions while we’ve watched black- and brown-skinned people die at the hands of those sworn to uphold the law: shame on you.
I’m so tired of my silent white brothers and sisters who have remained silent while black lives have been ended at the hands of officers. Sure, they’ll express moral outrage about a lion shot in Zimbabwe or a gorilla shot in a zoo, but then I observe many of them as they try to justify another black life lost at the hand of an officer. “Well uh, he shouldn’t have moved his leg left!” Or “Well he shouldn’t have been selling CDs in front of the store!” It’s pathetic and insulting.
Then there are those who don’t want us to see race, those of my silent white brothers and sisters who want us all to “just get along.” The problem is “getting along” falls disproportionately on black- and brown-skinned peoples. It’s always OUR burden to “get along” when my silent white brothers and sisters, you hold all the keys and access to power! It’s always on us to be more like you. My silent white brothers and sisters, you don’t even try to consider our perspective.
And don’t dare mention privilege. That sends folks into a conniption. But in a moment of truth, ask yourself, “would I like to be treated like a Black American?” I doubt any of my silent white brothers and sisters would sign up for that life. And that speaks volumes.
I am so tired of having to plead MY humanness, MY basic right to not live in fear, MY right to equal treatment before the law. Silent white brothers and sisters, if you don’t get it by now, you are apart of the problem. Admit it, you just don’t care. And because you don’t care, what happened in Dallas last night is only a harbinger of things to come. Until you start to care, those disillusioned people whose lives are treated as less than will tragically combat violence with violence. Just watch.
The tragedy in Dallas yesterday was not unforeseeable. This is the result of much talk and little action. This is what happens when you have a group of disaffected and disenfranchised persons whose cries for help go unheeded. People lash out. Violently. And we slowly march down a path of violence & bloodshed and the destruction of already precarious communities. This path is unsustainable and we must not only denounce the violence against police, but also the brutality with which brown- and black-skinned persons are subjected to at said police hands.
But there’s a way we can bridge gaps, and heal communities: it starts with my silent white brothers and sisters.
When motivated, your silent majority can move mountains and change the arc of history:
We fought a Civil War because my silent white brothers and sisters opposed a policy of infinite servitude.
We said separate but equal is inherently unequal because my silent white brothers and sisters made it so.
We desegregated schools because my silent white brothers and sisters made it so.
We buried Jim Crow because my silent white brothers and sisters made it so.
We allowed interracial marriage because my silent white brothers and sisters made it so.
We ushered in a new area of civil rights acts (housing, voting, employment, and schools) to ensure that every brown- and black-skinned citizen of this country would enjoy all the promises guaranteed to him or her under the Constitution because my silent white brothers and sisters made it so.
My silent white brothers and sisters we are calling on you once more to help stem the tide of police violence against brown- and black-skinned Americans. We cannot do this without you.
If you have been silent thus far, consider this your official notice. This problem can only be solved when my silent white brothers and sisters decide to address it.