How do you raise white children in a world that fears black children? How to do you teach your own white children to understand the fundamental cause of racism, at the hands of white people without making them hate themselves, but empowering them to see color, reject colorblindness, and care for people who looks different from them?
Silence is not okay.
I’m a writer and I’ve been silent, and the truth is I’ve been silent because I am afraid of my own voice. I am afraid of my fear and anger and inability to know what to say. And I am a little ashamed of that fear and of my silence. If there is something my husband and kids can tell you, I am not silent at home. However, I’ve had, from time to time, spoken out in the public eye and dealt with the harassment and ignorance that is often thrown at women online for having a voice.
I stepped out of the debate for a while now, especially on Facebook. I stepped out of the political debate, the race debate, the women’s debate. Because I am tired. I am tired of writing and saying shit that people balk at. I am tired of employing others to care more about their fellow human beings, their peers, than the wealthy, deceitful political dividers in this country. I am tired of hearing all the negativity. I am tired of seeing people die because they look different from me and I am tired of all the “prayers” being offered without any changes being made.
It starts with confronting your own BIAS and teaching your children to confront theirs.
It doesn’t mean I haven’t listened, learned, read, and watched. My tears fall today for all the lives lost, for all the pain caused, for the human hearts breaking, for the men and women who cannot live in peace the way I do, the way my family does because of their skin color.
I don’t teach colorblindness in my house. I think that is a dangerous concept to say we don’t see color. We very much see color and we should celebrate our differences and our cultures and still love each other because of those differences. It should be okay to be a black person in America (or Asian, or Indian, or any ethnicity).
In my house I teach awareness. I point out differences and talk about the good, the positive aspects. But I also tell them the reality, age appropriate of course. I bring home diverse books and diverse dolls for my young daughter and I have long discussions with my teenage son, especially when he says things like “racism isn’t really around anymore.” We live in a predominantly white society, my kids are a little more sheltered than I ever was. And therefore it is that much more important for me to open their eyes and help them understand. And it angers my teenager and confuses my kindergartner as to why people are treated differently because they look different. Good. It should.
But, I once shared an article from a white mom with mixed-race children about this stuff. I got a lot of love for that article from people who felt like me. But then I got some hate too from white folks. White folks who told me I had white guilt, and they refused to be that way. White folks who justified the inequalities because that is the way that is and they refuse to feel guilty for the “sins” of the past. They say, “Why share stuff like that just to make people angry or feel bad!” They say, “You are making it worse by talking about it!”
It’s white privilege that gets me,
not white guilt.
Let me be clear, I am not guilty over who I am, I have compassion for the way the world treats people who are different from me and I aim to shape a better world for my children. I know guilt. I know guilt cause I am a mom and I feel that mom guilt everyday. This isn’t guilt, this is sadness and outrage and…something far stronger than guilt could ever assuage.
I share it because we don’t talk about it. We hide from it, and white folks…yes I am white too…we all need to stop hiding from it. Stop feeling ashamed for it and own it. Have a voice when we see it. Even if that is posting a rant on Facebook. You don’t have to take on the “all white folks” mantra. Of course not all white folks. But yea, many of you. I am not free from bias, I understand my white privilege, I only aim to do better and be better and learn from my mistakes, as should we all.
But the buck stops there. You cannot call out the injustice while also criticising a group of people for rioting. Over 1000 people protested peacefully. Some people got out of control and that is all you care about. It is all you want to talk about. You are taking the focus away from the bigger issue. Unjustified death. And stop the “but black people kill black people” narrative. Just stop. If we were being murdered in the streets the way black people are being murdered, if we were being incarcerated at the rate at which black people were being incarcerated, if we were being harassed the way black people are harassed for their skin color, if we lived in fear every day after our ancesters lived in fear everyday, after their ancesters were owned would you not be angry?! Would you not want to burn the world down?
Is Facebook the place to express yourself
for others to listen, or a driver of
inequality and arrogance?
I have stayed silent because Facebook is a breeding ground for misinformation, for racism, for misogyny, for focusing on the wrong narrative. I don’t want to debate other white people about what is okay and not okay for how the black community reacts to one of their own dying. Much as I don’t want to listen to a panel of men debate women’s marches and women’s rights because STFU. If you are an ally, be an ally. I don’t know what that means to you. But I know what it means to me.
I may not be out there protesting, but I am here with my white children helping them understand and be better. Showing them compassion and to know the sins of the past, not live them. To work towards a better future. Even if it is only three people. If I can influence those three people, then that is a goal worth working for.
My silence may seem like complicity. I don’t want it to be. With my tears still wet on my cheeks, I’ve found debating black lives with white people who agree with me changes nothing and debating black lives with people who don’t understand that black lives matter doesn’t change anything. Ignorant people choose to remain ignorant. Black people continue to live in fear and I sit here wondering how my silence or outrage affects all that.
Take it from black people,
black writers, not me!
I want to post articles and I want to share statistics, but instead I implore you to go out and read this from a black person’s POV. NOT MINE!
Check out some of these fine black women writer’s who are speaking out and speaking up.
Or go out and find black writers and read their articles. White allys are important but black lives matter and they and only they can make you understand what they are going through.
Close your eyes and feel their pain and outrage. Only then can you truly open your eyes.