I’ve probably been pulled over close to a dozen times in my life. I’ve got the speeding tickets, and fix it tickets, and traffic violations to prove it. I had a lead foot and a rebel heart, and I paid for it with a poor driving record and high insurance costs.
When I would see those patriotic lights flashing behind me, my mind would race to a thousand different places. My heart would pound.
What did I do this time? How fast was I going? Do I have a light out? Will this be the time they finally arrest me? My parents are going to be furious with me. I can’t afford another ticket!
The fear of license suspension, car searching, and even being arrested and sent to jail would creep in, but I never ever, feared that I would be killed. Because I didn’t have to. Because I am a white privileged woman.
It’s easy when you’re white in a world that values that. The emphasis on superiority based on melatonin levels is no new thing. It’s easy to pretend that being “colorblind” and “loving everyone” is enough. But it’s not. And we do not need to be colorblind. In fact, you need to very clearly see color in order to fully grasp what is happening in our world. Because this is so blatantly an attack based on it.
At some point, even the most skeptical white privileged folks have to be able to look at this and see a trend. At some point you have to take off the blinders and see the direct racism our country is facing. How many times can we blame a bad angle or “cut” video for a cops behavior? How many more people must die before we see that this is happening. That human beings are being slaughtered by the very people who are sworn to protect them.
Dear white people:
We need to start talking about this with each other. We need to start asking the hard questions and losing friends, if need be. We need to educate one another. It is not black peoples responsibility to ignite change within white people— it’s ours. Would you ask a Holocaust victim to help you care? Would you make that their responsibility? Could you imagine?
It is up to us to use our privilege to spark change. We cannot just stand by idly, despite how much more comfortable and easy it would be to do so.
And this is where I will start. And I’m sorry to all of my readers that it took me so long to publicly do so. If you somehow, still feel that these murders are justified, let’s talk. If you somehow, cannot see the very real racism our country’s black people are facing, let’s talk.
Say their names. We have to say their names. These mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons— they are very real victims of hate crimes and we cannot— I will not allow them to blur together into one white priveleged apathetic pile of mush.
Black lives matter. They matter just as much as mine and yours. And until they are treated as such, no lives will matter.