Let’s Talk About: Supporting Black Issues as a White Person

 

Came across this video the other day through my roommate finding it on Facebook, and then eavesdropping on the audio as she watched it. It makes good points and sheds good light, so I’ve been wanting to put it on the blog.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this video (and what to say in this post) ever since I saw it. As someone who openly loves, and is obviously influenced & inspired by black culture (among many cultures), it made me feel like I’m not doing enough to support and stand up against issues of racial inequalities. Because I’m not.

I can regretfully say I typically steer clear of talking about racial issues; not only here on the blog, but in general. Race is an extremely sensitive subject, and I never felt it was really my place to comment on issues of racism because as a white person, I obviously haven’t experienced these issues in the same way that a black person does, so it’s like what gives me the right to talk about a struggle I haven’t faced?

As a woman, it’s easy and natural to talk about feminist issues, because I have to deal with that shit. I face that shit, I live that shit. But as a white person, I don’t live and experience racial issues on the receiving end, and I would never want to come across as if I am trying to say I know what it’s like, or that it’s my struggle, because I don’t, and it’s not.

But that is a stupid reason not to say anything.

My roommate made a really important distinction when we were talking about this video, that there’s a difference between taking on an issue as your own, and being an ally.

I don’t have to be on the receiving end of racism to know that it’s fucked up and wrong. That goes for anything. And on the same token, I don’t have to be on the receiving end of racism to stand up against it.

Every single one of us should be fighting for what we think is right, and more importantly, standing up against what we think is wrong, regardless of whether it happens to us, or someone else. Wrong is wrong, it doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end.

We need to stand up, we need to talk about this stuff, even if it is sensitive, or hard to talk about. The more we all talk about these things openly, the less ‘uncomfortable to talk about’ it becomes; the less ‘uncomfortable to talk about’ it becomes, the less people are afraid to voice opinions on it; the more voiced opinions we have on it, the louder the voice is against it, and the less socially acceptable it becomes. We need to stop ignoring things, and hoping racism goes away over time. As we can see, that shit is taking way too long.

If you think racism is wrong, it’s not enough to think it. Talk about it. Let your opinions be known. You know what’s even better than talking about it? Fight against it. On the small scale of your day to day life, and on the large scale of protests and rallies.

 

So anyway, slight change of subject (but only slight), I haven’t been in America for a few months now,  when I left for Australia, it was right around the time of the riots in Ferguson. I remember how it felt, and I don’t even live anywhere remotely close to Missouri. It was a nation wide feeling, a nation wide reaction. I can’t speak on how things have been since I left (because I haven’t been there to experience it) but I remember feeling…for lack of a better word, glad, that people were standing up. There have been so many widely publicized cases of police brutality in the last few years that have sparked backlash, but something about the Ferguson riots felt different. It felt like something would have to change from there. A demonstration that big can’t be all for nothing.

Then, this morning, I woke up to find out about the Baltimore riots that happened while I was asleep.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-university-of-baltimore-closes-amid-high-school-purge-threat-20150427-story.html#page=1

It’s is absolutely insane, to me. Not that this happened, but that it takes riots for people to learn about police brutality. This is the first I’ve heard of police brutality in America since I’ve been gone, and I know this isn’t the only instance of it that has happened in the last 6 months.

Here, http://nypost.com/2015/04/24/cops-in-la-gun-down-teen-at-apartment-after-report-of-graffiti/, there’s another example of police brutality that happened just the other day that likely no one knew about because there weren’t any riots. But why the fuck does it take people rioting and burning down half their city to get people talking about this?

I saw this on my newsfeed the other day and it truly made me sick. I hadn’t heard about any one of these instances until I saw this post. Why?

 

WHY are we not talking about these instances as they happen? WHY are they not getting attention unless there are riots? WHY hasn’t there been any action taken to stop this shit from happening? I genuinely don’t understand.

We need better systems in place for change. We need to talk about these things and figure this shit out before it gets to these levels. It’s 2015, not the stone ages, it shouldn’t have to come to this.

What’s fucked up is that it DOES have to come to these levels in order to get people talking about it, though. That IS SO WRONG.

I don’t really know what to do, or how we fix it, but as I said before, the best place to start is to stop ignoring it and bring these issues to the forefront of our minds and consciousness, because everything about this is wrong, and we cannot afford to continue living in a world where people need to burn down a CVS to be heard.

 

-As a footnote, I want to say I’m sorry if any of this did come across wrong at any point. I hate to take racism and make it a white issue in terms of like ‘oh wah, I’m white and don’t know how to talk about racism :'(‘, but I figure this is a better place to start than nowhere.

-As another foot note, fuck Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. I fully fuckin’ mean that, too.