What I want you to know
As I continue fighting for the Black Lives Matter movement.
I want you to know I don't care if you "don't like to talk politics". I bet our Black brothers and sisters would love the opportunity and privilege to not have to care or not have to talk about politics either, but this is a matter of life or death for them. I'm pretty sure they don't "like" having to fill the streets in protest of not having basic human rights, either. I want you to know it's time to pull your head out of the sand and participate no matter how much you don't like it.
I want you to know that being an ally in this movement doesn't just mean being not racist, it means using your privilege to aid Black people in dismantling systemic racism without having to be the hero in this story. I want you to know that it's time to lift up our Black brothers and sisters and be okay with being in the background.
I want you to know that I don't claim to be a saviour and I've had to do my own work. I want you to know that becoming anti-racist involves acknowledging that at one point, at any point that you "let racism slide", you were being racist and benefiting from a racist system. I want you to know that it might suck to have to admit you've been racist in the past but it sure pales in comparison to being murdered in the street because of the colour of your skin.
I want you to know that no matter where you come from or what you've been taught, you have a choice to rise up and be different. I want you to know we aren't born racist. I want you to know that you need to not "choose to see colour" right now, because that isn't anti-racist, it's ignorant. I want you to know you aren't brave or special or helpful for refusing to honour the colour or culture of other people, especially when you're living in a system that not only refuses to honour colour, but uses it as a triage system for murder and injustice.
I want you to know that the system we live in right now was built to benefit white people, and just because you yourself did not build this system does not mean that it is not your job to help dismantle it. I want you to know that it's time to make this personal and you don't have to be okay with anyone in your life being a racist. I want you to know it's not hypocritical to decide to no longer be okay with a system you may have never noticed was so hateful and flawed. I want you to know that when my aunt married her Black husband, her grandpa was upset and told her mother that he would never approve. I want you to know that just a while later, her grandpa sat at the kitchen table with her husband playing cards and loving him just as he was his own grandson. I want you to know change is good. I want you to know it's not too late.
I want you to know that for every time in the past few weeks you've turned off your phone because you've needed a break from the sadness, the brutality, the uncertainty in your future, the videos of blood running over the concrete, the rubber bullets, the smoke, there are thousands upon thousands of Black people in that moment who wish that they too could turn this reality off and take a break. I want you to know it's our turn as white people to sit with that pain. I want you to know that I sit awake at night every night wondering how all of the battered and bloodied protesters I see in these videos are doing.
I want you to know that if George Floyd was white, no one would argue he deserved to die because of his past. I want you to know that, no matter their criminal record or mental health history, no one deserves to be murdered. Period. And I want you to know that the fact I even have to explain that to some people makes my hands tremble at these keys.
I want you to know that if you are not a Black person you have no right to tell Black people how to behave, mourn, grieve, be angry, or protest in this situation. I want you to know that the very system that is being torn and burned down is one that has only served white people for hundreds of years, and that I think if that makes you uncomfortable, you need to check yourself. I want you to know you should not be afraid to share your human rights with other humans. I want you to know that Target will recover. Macy's will recover. However, Ahmaud Arbery will not recover. Breonna Taylor will not recover. Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, JUST TO NAME A FEW, will not recover. Because they were murdered by the hands of those who swore to serve and protect them.
I want you to know that Black people tried peaceful protest and no one listened.
I want you to know that I am, of course, as a white person, not the expert on the Black experience, and I never will be, nor will any other non-Black person. I want you to know that even as allies we live in privilege, sitting here writing our posts and reposting the videos and infographics and links while Black people are busy literally fighting for their lives.
I want you to know there are thousands upon thousands of amazing resources out there right now for you to educate yourself with in regards to this movement and how to exact change. I want you to know there are so many different ways to help and be an effective ally to black people, but it starts with doing more than just calling yourself an ally on social media. I want you to know about these links to start:
I want you to know it's your duty and responsibility to do your own research from here.
I want you to know that Black Lives Matter. Period.