Letter To My White Friends
Letter to my white friends ready to become full allies with blacks and all people of color:
No amount of wishing there wasn’t a racial matrix, or pretending that whites and blacks are treated the same, or finding alternate explanations besides race for racially charged incidents, is going to make the racial divide in America go away.
What will make it go away is when the majority of white people wake up to the realization that we live in a white supremacist system which does everything possible to keep white people in general in a higher caste position than brown and black people.
To deny this is to imply that blacks are an underclass because of some inferiority within us rather than due to the fact that we’ve been hunted, hated, cheated, and abused in pretty much every possible way by whites for 400 years. It’s very similar to denying the Holocaust, and then expecting Jewish people to respect your point of view — ain't gonna happen.
Most white folks have spent relatively little time even thinking about race, let alone experiencing racial oppression, yet in conversations about racism, often act like they know as much as we do on the subject. That, in a nutshell, is the problem.
It’s heartening to see so many white folks outraged by the white supremacist march in Charlottesville and by violent white supremacist behavior in general. However, the real racial problem we have is institutionalized racism, not prejudiced individuals who act like a-holes. While it feels gratifying to watch protesters pull down the Confederate statue and chase the event organizer off his podium, don’t be fooled or placated into a “mission accomplished” mindset. The white supremacist matrix that all of us, of all races, are stuck in here in the U.S. — whites on top, blacks and browns on the bottom — controls all of our societal systems. From policing to the prison industry, to housing and education, no aspect of institutionalized racism was disrupted by Charlottesville.
I ask all who were outraged or shocked by the white supremacist display to let your outrage intensify. Let it fuel a commitment to learning more about institutionalized racism in America and its history, and to becoming as outspoken and passionate an anti-racist as most people of color are. That is how the dividing line based on race will end.
I say respectfully but with firm conviction that this is key: White friends, listen and learn from people of color and racially cognizant white allies who have learned what we know, rather than try to teach on this subject. That in my humble opinion is the solution.
People of color, each of us, have become experts on racism, thanks to whites. Whites have been kept on the receiving end of racism’s benefits, often blithely unaware that racism even exists, thanks to people of color being kept on the bottom. It’s important that we recognize who is the teacher at this moment of change, and who must open up and learn.
When you share the same point of view on racial injustice with us, and join us in that hard job of speaking our shared point of view on racism to your own white brethren, who can be brick walls of pure hate on this subject… when you are on our side, you are teaching them what you’ve learned about racism and the white supremacist matrix we are all living in. At that point no colorlines between us exist and we become one family. Finally.
Phaedre Suriyai Christ is a world builder, yogi, and goddess of love believing WeThePeople can regain democracy thru strategic boycotting. Join the discussion at facebook.com/unitedpeopleboycott/. Published with permission.