White Allies, You Need To Talk To Your Families This Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is upon us. All of us will be seeing loved and problematic relatives alike. And to my White friends that understand what’s going on, understand how horrible this is, that understand how we as a country can not continue like this, you have an important task before you. You gotta talk to your families. You gotta talk to your mothers that don’t think this is about race, you gotta talk to your fathers about their irrational fears of Black men, you gotta talk to your aunts and uncles about their racist double standards. When your people ask why are Black people rioting, you gotta talk to your people and say, “They’re rioting because they’re being killed without justice. Why are we rioting after football games and for spring break?” When they say that Mike Brown was on drugs, you have to say, “Mom, Dad, we all smoke weed. Half of the country that’s under the age of 35 is high right now. And most of them are actually White because we make up most of the population and are less likely to be imprisoned for it.” We need you to remind them that when you and your friends from home decide to go to the bar that’s been you and your crew’s favorite since high school because they don’t card, the privilege that your parents have. That they do not have to worry about you being stopped by the police unless you are driving home drunk. And remind them that even if that is the case, you will not be shot for it. They will come pick you up, in the middle of the night, pissed off and sleepy, but with their child still alive. Remind them that this rarely happens for Black mothers and fathers, who will identify their child at the city morgue as often as your parents never have that worry.
This is your responsibility. This is your task. This is your fight, in this fight. Because this silence — we can not continue. I know this is hard. I know because I remember how it felt when people laughed at me and my mother last year when we began talked about police brutality. When the same reporters after reporter told us we had no story and it “wasn’t an issue.” I know the silence that you will feel, because I lost friends that thought that I talked about race and politics too much. I know that rejected feeling when people you’ve spent hundreds of dollars with over drinks and dinners won’t even donate $50 to your cause. I know that your cheeks will get flush and your family will say that you are embarrassing them; I embarrassed my friends from Williams because I was not being genteel. That I was not acting like I came from “good stock.” That silence is going to be deafening. Like when I reached out to people and no one answered. When I stopped talking to my aunt indefinitely because she did not understand that Clinton didn’t do anything but be Black. I know what you will go through. I have been there. Black people have been there. We are here now. We stand with you, in that rejection. You will not stand alone.
This Thanksgiving, it’s your Thanksgiving allies. To do something different. This is your moment, your day to do that hard work. This is your first step in helping to move us all forward. Because until White people start having these conversations, we are all trapped in that knowing hell that Black people will get killed and White people will do nothing. And thus it continues.
Do something this Thanksgiving, my White friends. Please talk to your families.