As I scrolled through Facebook it seemed as though every few posts are race-related. Which is good. I think. I don’t know. I’m probably more indifferent.
Posts about the protest, riots, looting, statues, fight songs, White Jesus, flags, etc.
The week of George Floyd’s murder was one of the biggest turning points for America since the open casket of Emmett Till. People were posting that they never knew this was a reality for black people, or that were scared they would say the wrong thing so they were just silent, or they were sorry for not listening in the past.
All solid things to say.
But here we are a few weeks later and I’m truly wondering, are you still listening?
As the weeks go on, are you still educating yourself on different viewpoints and opinions?
Whenever you’re upset over a statue or flag, are you asking yourself, why am I upset about this? How do my black friends feel about it? Is this supporting a community that has asked for support for centuries?
When it comes to riots and looting, are you trying to understand where the point of pain comes from? Or are you immediately lumping all blacks together and saying, “this is why I can’t support them,” or are you mad that George Floyd’s family got a flag, or allowing that news about the way police officers are being treated currently overshadows the way that Blacks have been treated since the foundation of the country.
Both are wrong, but from a logical standpoint, if I were to ask my white friends which party do they think that they can relate and understand more – Black people or law enforcement, most would pick law enforcement. I point that out because this means that your natural worldview doesn’t naturally lean towards relating, empathizng, and understanding Black people.
It could be because you don’t have many Black friends. The area you live in demographically lacks a significant Black presence. You only listen and follow people on social media that support your views.
It takes work.
Are you still listening?
One of the main things I’ve heard from White people is that when it comes to race, they just don’t understand. So if you don’t understand and are aware that this specific issue probably can’t be fully grasped, for those that want to learn, shouldn’t your first thought be “I need to listen”?
I need to learn. I need to grow. I need to process.
Not, “I need to type.”
There’s a video going around of black citizens in my hometown yelling, cussing, and threatening multiple White police officers as they are making a traffic stop. Let me be clear, this is wrong. I can’t and won’t try to justify it. But I will ask this.
Are you trying to figure out where their point of pain is coming from? Are you asking your black friends what are their thoughts? Are you fighting off possible sinful prejudices, biases and judgments of those black citizens?
Once again. Let me be clear. it’s not police or Black people, it’s police and Black people. Support both. I support both.
Are you still listening?
There are shootings that have occurred over the last few weeks that I don’t know how I feel about them, so I sit on it and listen. I learn. I don’t go typing away. It’s not always easy. I’ve seen more racist /insensitive post in the last few weeks than I have in years combined honestly. It can hard to sit silently.
As a black man, when these shootings happen my knee-jerk reaction is to post about it, and let every one of followers know that this is a reality we can’t excuse.
So my question for my white readers, whenever there’s news about statues, flags, school names/songs what is your knee-jerk reaction?
Do you immediately type that this is ridiculous or stupid? Or this is all just a political scheme for the democratic party? Or that you are tearing down history?
And maybe you did sit on those thoughts.
If I can hold my thoughts, sit and learn more about a shooting, of an unarmed black man that hurts me on a very deep level , you can sit and learn about why these things hurt us.
Listening is loving.
As you process through these symbolic songs, flags. and statues, remember that they are just that. Symbolic.
These things are not people. Choose people.
Choose me. Choose your neighbor. Choose your co-worker.
Are you still listening?
In Conclusion: My heart has been hurting the last couple weeks. Not solely because of George Floyd, but because many of my White followers hold so closely to symbols that I myself and many other black people see as hurtful. It hurts that so many can’t see or refuse to acknowledge that these symbols carry more weight than they realize. Many listened as Ahmaud’s case became more publicized. Many others started listening when George Floyd was murdered. Now that there hasn’t been a highly publicized case in a few weeks, are you still listening?
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