I have been quiet on my blog about Black Lives Matter not because I want to remain neutral, but because I have no idea what words I could use that would adequately show my support for the movement to end systemic racism. I still don’t quite know what to say, but I will try my best.
As a queer woman with a mental illness, I know what it is like to be marginalized by society. I faced discrimination by my former employer in a HUGE way. But I am white. I have never feared for my life at the hands of a police officer. I have never been treated unfairly because of the color of my skin. Despite all of the other ways I am brushed off by society, I still benefit from white privilege.
But this isn’t about me. This is about a much larger movement than any that I could ever start on my own. We are in the midst of civil unrest, during a pandemic no less. It is NOT the time to remain quiet. While I wish to stay home when I can because I do not want to contract or possibly spread COVID-19, I support the efforts of others in organizing protests. We have too much at stake to stay silent.
I support people of color through other actions, such as by donating money to the cause and educating myself even further about the stories of people of color dying at the hands of the police and the United States government. It sickens me that I live in a society where there are so many white racists who don’t care about the lives of people of color.
I do not claim to be completely free of racism. After all, I learned in school very early on that people of color were FINE with being slaves. Really, what the fuck? Why would anybody be OK with being seen as less than human? There is a lot to unpack about education in the United States.
I do strive to be anti-racist. I will not stand for people who espouse racist views and support police brutality. I will not support businesses who express those sentiments either. If I patronize a business and later find out that they do not support the Black Lives Matter revolution, then I will take my business elsewhere.
What can I, as a white person who has benefited so much from systemic racism, do to show that I am committed to seeing its end? All I know to do is educate myself and put my money where my mouth is. What else can I do? That is not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.
My voice about Black Lives Matter is not confined to this one blog post. My contribution to the conversation will continue for as long as there is systemic racism.
Black Lives Matter. There is no BUT. If you say that “all lives matter,” then YOU are part of the problem.