We Need to Talk About Privilege, Racism, and "All Lives Matter"
It's taken way too long for me to write more about this here. I've done it on social media, but not enough on my own website. Why? I could name a lot of reasons, including that I was raised in and live in a culture steeped in systemic racism. Also...
I was worried that I'd get it wrong. That I couldn't say everything in one little post, so maybe I shouldn't say anything. Worried that I wouldn't do it perfectly.
But, I'm tired of being afraid of speaking up. I want to use my privilege of not being oppressed in this area of my life to open up, risk making mistakes, and hopefully, help some of my white friends who might be confused about what's going on to understand why people would protest and why this is so important.
#1 "Privilege is being born on third base." ~ Glennon Doyle
As a white person, I have rarely thought about the color of my skin. It's just been "normal." I've never wondered if the reason something did or didn't happen in my life was because of my skin color. I have heard several Black people express a very different experience in their lives.
#2 "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean they matter more. It means they matter equally. The reason it's necessary to say this is that the U.S. (and other countries) was (were) BUILT on colonization and the belief that Black lives are less, disposable even. Systemic racism perpetuates this very wrong notion.
#3 Yes, I am vegan and you have probably heard me speak up for animal rights. And yet, I believe it is tone-deaf to say "all lives." Why? Because all lives cannot matter *until* Black Lives Matter.
Until African American people are able to feel safe and are treated the same way someone with white skin would be in the same scenario, we continue to need to speak out and take action to right this wrong. Our voices and actions will need to get louder and bigger until this is corrected.
If one of us can't breathe, none of us can breathe.
We must rise up together to abolish the delusional thinking and dangerous acting that comes with thinking that someone else is less deserving.
If you disagree, maybe this image will help...
#4 I have learned that it's appropriate for white folx to educate white folx about this. That putting this burden on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) is an added injury. When someone who is BIPOC does do the extra emotional labor to speak up and educate, let's make an extra effort to listen very closely to the gift they're offering and to make sure the educators are compensated for their labor to help resolve a problem that was created by white people and thus, is really our responsibility to fix.
This is a very helpful article by Melanie McFarland:
White allies: Here's a basic list of do's and don'ts to help you with your helplessness
>>> Articles and resources to learn more about anti-racism <<<
- How to talk with your kids about race (no, they're not too young)
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Check the Minnesota Freedom Fund for support suggestions.
- 43 Bail Funds You Can Support (and why it's important to do this)
P.S. On Sunday, June 7 at 10:30am Pacific, we'll be exploring this topic and self-compassion. Send a message to me to get the link!
Image credit: chainsawsuit.com