Open letter to White America…
Before we begin, I wanted to address two things in particular which were brought to my attention by a close friend of mine, and honestly need to be discussed before we move on to anything else.
First, to my fellow white people. The things you are about to read while making your way through the course of this letter may initially be hard to accept, and while you might find yourself at times wanting to stop and throw what I’m saying into the wind as nothing more than bullshit, I’d ask you to please take the time to reconsider. Read everything it is that I’ve wrote, investigate what I’ve said for yourself, take the time to learn on your own that what I’m speaking is actually the truth. Because in the end, learning is not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be challenging. It’s supposed to challenge not only what you know, but who it is that you are, as well as who it is that you are actually meant to be.
Second, and equally if not more important than anything else. To any black person who may be reading this letter, I want to make one thing unequivocally clear, I would never try to speak for you. Everything I say throughout the course of this letter reflects upon those things I have come to learn and know throughout the course of my lifetime. I am writing and speaking from my heart, just as much as I am writing and speaking from my mind. Moreover, if at any point I’ve said something that’s incorrect or reflects negatively upon black people as a whole, or even upon one black person as an individual, I am truly sorry and regretful from the bottom of my heart, and honestly beg your forgiveness in more ways than one could ever hope to express.
In closing, and before we move on to the heart of the matter; I hope that this letter makes a difference, I hope this means something to someone out there, and above all else, I hope that at least one person grows to become a better person than they ever thought or hoped they could be.
Dear Fellow White People,
Black people don’t owe us shit, and while this notion or idea might initially be difficult for us to accept or understand, the fact remains that the contributions black people have made to this country when combined with the ways in which we as white people have systematically diminished their existence, should be more than enough to single handedly provide them with a lifetime pass to any seat at any table they damn well choose. In fact, not only should black people be afforded the benefit of the doubt in almost any conceivable situation when it comes to their day-to-day dealings with us white people, they should also be afforded in addition to some long deserved and overdue form of reparations, the beginnings of at least a modicum of acknowledgement and respect for all they have done for us along the way. Going even further, not only do we owe them some form of respect for what they have done along the way, but we owe them an apology built upon a lifetime of saying I’m sorry for all of those things we have successfully taken away. As us white people throughout the years have systematically devised countless schemes to misrepresent and misappropriate their history; bending it until it better suits the ideas, beliefs, or narratives we have wanted to hold dear. As they have always been throughout the formation and growth of this country, the tools by which we have sought to successfully better ourselves at the expense of others.
For instance, let us first begin with the tangible contributions made by black people throughout our nation’s history, as we as white people have often sought to downplay the significance of their influences, while somehow simultaneously developing excuses to diminish the effects that hundreds of years of chattel slavery had on them as a people. We’ve done this in one way by making statements referencing how all of these things occurred in the past, while at the same time, often having the unmitigated gall and audacity to suggest that black people simply need to move on or put this past behind them. For one thing, how can you put behind you or move on from what still exists today? As the enslavement of black people has simply been reformed and repackaged through the loopholes left by how we purposely crafted the 13th Amendment, which has essentially been used to form and contribute to the ever-growing prison system of our nation, developing the act of incarceration itself into its own cottage industry. Moreover, while we as white people have found new ways to allow slavery to live on through the filling of our nation’s prisons from wall to wall with black and brown people, we have also found new ways to ignore what hundreds of years of slavery have done to black people on another level. In the sense that while the slavery of the past obviously robbed those people of both their lives and their existence, it also robbed todays present day African-Americans of the same kinds of connections to their pasts that we as white people have come to hold dear. As we took away more than just an opportunity to incur the kind of generational wealth which could have been passed down from one generation to the next, in the sense that we took away the ability to even connect this generation to its past, which is something so evil it can never be undone.
Now in addition to those many ways in which white people have robbed and exploited black people through the auspices of slavery, we have also throughout the years found countless ways to do the same with the many contributions they have made throughout history as whole, as well as with those that they continue to make today. As for the latter, we can even for kicks and giggles go back to the beginning of time immortal in a biblical sense; only to discover how countless generations of white people have falsely labeled Jesus Christ himself as a blonde haired, blue eyed, delicately pale faced white man. Which is obviously so far removed from the blatant truth that comes with having to accept Christ as the brown haired, brown eyed, brown skinned carpenter of a man that he obviously was. Furthermore, this mischaracterization of black people as a whole even continues to extend into the present day ways in which we find ourselves mislabeling those more recent figures in history, such as what we white people have done through our pacifistic portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King. Which has been accomplished just as it were with the latter, to serve those same purposes we have always fed into, as we as white people seek to create an overall narrative that works to prop up how we choose to characterize ourselves, with respect to how we have chosen to view black people as a whole. In that we have either chosen to erase them from the narrative when need be, or to reshape them to fit the picture of what we would like to believe black people should do and be.
Continuing on, this mindset or need to erase, replace, or relabel black people throughout our history, while wicked in and of itself alone; has been even further exasperated by white peoples need to appropriate black culture and the many contributions it has made to our society as a whole. Taking the undeserved credit for virtually everything they’ve helped to shape, form, or create along the way. As white people have stolen and passed off as our own more things than one could sensibly list or ever hope to mention; as we have appropriated or taken some form of credit for everything from black music, to black hairstyles, to black fashion, to black inventions, to black vernacular, to black ideas, to black skin tones, to black bodies, to black history, to black minds, to black every damn everything. In fact, the only thing us white people have not yet seemed to appropriate consistently along the way, might just be seasoning. Which in and of itself is incredibly confusing for two reasons: One, is the fact that outside of a few specific groups of white people, our food generally needs more help than the second coming could offer, and two, when one looks at history and realizes just how many wars were fought over that stuff to begin with, one has to wonder what all those conquering white people did with all those spices they won along the way.
And while none of this is obviously a laughing matter in any sense of the word, it’s honestly somewhat more comical than any one sensible person could ever hope to imagine. As white people have done so much wrong to black people throughout the years, that its damn near perplexing to think how any of them even continue to still give us the time of day. In essence, we as white people have taken so much more than any one singular twisted form of horror/sci-fi/fantasy novelist could ever possibly hope to conceive; as we’ve mislabeled, misrepresented, and mistreated an entire race of people consistently throughout most of their history. We’ve gone so far as to label black men as brutes, and black women as mammy’s; creating and perpetuating the kind of stereotypes that have continued to feed into the way that White-Americans view and see black people today. And all the while we have done so with a smile, and with an air of self-righteousness that sickeningly feeds into our own twisted view of reality. We. Need. To. Change. We need to own up to our mistakes, we need to accept all of those things we have done wrong along the way, we need to respect and acknowledge black people for the contributions they have made to society as a whole, we need to do all of this, and then quite frankly, we need to do so much more. Then maybe, just maybe, when all of these conditions for us as white people are finally met and sustained for a period of existence that equally represents those sacrifices made by those black people who built and sustained this country throughout the years are met; then maybe, just maybe, could we hope as white people for black people to possibly consider not the beginnings of forgiveness, but at least to consider just an acknowledgement that we as white people are finally attempting to make a change.
Anthony J. Serpico