Open Letter to My Fellow Whiteys:
White people, where you at?
I’m not kidding, white people. We have work to do. People of Color have been telling us what the problem is for decades. Their voices are not new, but it seems we are finally hearing them talk.
So we have two options: we can buckle down and start fixing what is wrong with our nation from within, like we should…or we can continue to let black folks do all the heavy lifting while we sit in the cool comfort and sip iced tea. But you know…that’s what got us into this shit in the first place.
We stole African people and sailed them across the sea in chains. We killed those that resisted. We beat them mercilessly. We tore babies away from their mothers and sold them like cattle.
We hung them if we felt like it, and we buried them with no gravestones for their families to mourn. We kept them in a state of imprisonment and mortal fear, barely fed them, treated them worse than any animal we owned.
We built this nation on their backs with their labor, with their suffering, with their blood, with their deaths. We kept them from leaving this horrible life at gunpoint, with nooses in hand. We hung them for no provocation.
We watched as many states defied our nation as it turned against this practice. We fought a bloody war over slavery.
We freed those slaves only to give them no room in our society to integrate, to adapt, to thrive. Decades passed until we forced integration to happen.
And even then, even after centuries of nightmarish abuse, we didn’t really mean it. Yes, we combined our schools and our water fountains.
We told them they could vote, and then we gerrymandered their districts to make their vote meaningless. We told them they could work at our jobs, and then we hired them in at the lowest wages possible, doing the worst work, and kept them out of power, kept them from advancing.
We told them they just needed to get an education in order to compete with us, and then we let their schools rot with underfunding and bad policies.
We told black people that they were equal to us, and then did everything we could to make that not the case. Then, to make it even worse, we let our children believe that black people were the problem. We told them that black people were inferior, and prone to crime and violence, and that we should fear them and even hate them.
And now we are offended if people of color destroy some property in a rage when we execute them, unarmed in the streets?
We argue with them when they try to tell us what is wrong with the situation, which we should have seen for ourselves. We argue with them when they tell us that we should take down the symbol of that hatred, that symbol of the war fought to keep slavery. We argue with them when they tell us about our very real problem.
How dare we? How fucking dare we?
So I ask you again, white people: Where the fuck are you?
There is a war on, right now, for the heart and soul of this very nation…and you’re AWOL. There is a war on, to either keep the institution of slavery in its newer, slightly lesser form, or to keep the promises made in the Constitution all those years ago. There is a war to decide if this nation is a great nation, one worthy of admiration and emulation, or to decide to continue our path of hatred, fear and punishment towards a people who never asked to be brought here in the first place.
There is a war on, and most of you sit, silent. Or worse, you sit and talk. You talk, and talk, and you talk some more, when instead you should be listening and learning.
Imagine that you are a 911 operator, and a call for help comes in. Would you sit and listen to the caller, and find out what the problem is in order to best address it, or would you cut that caller off and start to tell them what the problem is, and what they should do about it? Why do you think they are calling for help, if they could fix it themselves?
The sad reality is that people of color in America cannot fix the problem of racism. They cannot fix the problem because it is not within them. It is within us, white people. It is within our midst. It is the root cause of all the pain we see in the black community. It is a problem that we allow to persist when we should be snuffing it out. We cannot expect those marching in protest of all the wrongs and atrocities to do all the hard work of fixing this problem, but it seems that they are the only ones working very hard at it. We rationalize it away, we ignore it, we whitesplain it until in the end, it remains; unscathed and unabated.
The time is long past when we should have dealt with this. However, we are right here, right now. We are finally looking at this problem, and we have a choice: we can continue to let it destroy our nation and sit among the ashes, or we can get up and work to fix it.
This moment, this day, this time: This is our choice. How will we choose? What will we teach our children? What legacy will we leave behind for them? How will we push ahead into the future?
I’d love to say that of course, we will step up and start working on it right away, with no argument or complaint. I know this will not be the case, though. Therefore, I see myself as one person who will say what needs to be said. There are many who stand with me, who are standing up and telling America to fix this problem. You need to listen to us, white America, and take heed.
Get up, white America. Wake up. Stand up. You have work to do, and it’s way overdue. Get off your lily white asses, get off your high horses, roll up your sleeves and get the fuck to work. NOW.