White People, get our people.

White people, we gotta go get our people.

Credit: Ryan Kelly (CNN sourced article)

I’m not talking about rallying them up and pulling weak defenses about how the majority of us “aren’t racist”, truth is, I am.

I’m a racist.

I know the keyboard warriors are at the gates, the justice seekers are still on the hunt, and the defenses are weak. I’m not out for a fight, I want to say something that I’ve been scared to speak for quite some time.

What if I told you that I’ve strutted down a city street only to walk on the other side after seeing a group of rough looking black men coming towards me…

What if I told you that I’ve sat in rooms and heard people I would’ve labeled as friends utter the word “nigger”, “monkey”, and other names I’d care not to type.

What if I told you that I’ve chose to drive around specific areas of town because I was scared to stop at a red light in the middle of certain neighborhoods.

What if I told you that I’m sure there’s been at least 100 other moments that have happened and caused me to change behavior because of someone else’s skin.

I didn’t stand up. I didn’t speak up. I didn’t drive down that street. I took part, meaning or not, I was complicit.

I grew up with parents who taught me better. They taught me to hug, hold, and love without an agenda. It took me years to understand how that worked…not “looked” but worked. Because we manage to make ourselves “look” like we aren’t racist. It’s as easy as getting a token black friend and acting like we understand the struggle. Oh boy are we good at that…

White people, we gotta get our people. This is going too far. What happened in Charlottesville was despicable. It was horrifying to watch. But why won’t we acknowledge the depths of the crimes and struggles affecting black communities on a daily basis? Why is it so difficult for us to cross the line? What is it about privilege that makes it hard to listen before speaking?

We show up with brave faces when the swastikas come out, but the moment loud rap music and a few loud dudes start yelling, we scatter. The moment a black man is murdered in his vehicle during a traffic stop, we talk about the hypotheticals…forgetting that Facebook showed us the hypotheticals.

White people, why the hell has it taken so long to have these conversations? Why does it take so much for us to understand the other side? I’m not just talking about what history has shown us, I’m referencing what history is showing us.

Our housing system is slanted to keep black communities from improving past the point that we want them to.

The judicial system jails a generation from ever achieving anywhere close to what we would call “potential.”

An education system that is supposed to “teach” fails to inform or allow our children to “create” . . . and we probably shouldn’t talk about the rats and leaking roofs that exist within Detroit Public Schools and hundreds of other districts across our country.

Should I keep going?

White people, I’m speaking to you. I’m speaking to me. I’m speaking to my Father and Mother who raised me to be better than who I’ve been.

We have to talk about the tough stuff. Our light acknowledgment isn’t cutting it. Our President won’t do it. Politicians are failing to do it. Evangelical leaders talk more about “blessings” than about what’s directly affecting the day to day life of their congregations. We don’t address issues, we bandage up our broken systems and tell the world that nothings wrong.

We need conversations, community, open doors, loud music, intense debates, humility, patience, understanding, hope, dedication, and a hella lot of love.

White people, we have to get our people. 
Communities of color deserve our time and action.
In case we’ve forgotten, we stole so much of theirs. 
It’s time to give it back.