I don’t know where to begin. As I sit down to write this, I am feeling so many things, and this is my potentially futile attempt to get them out. I no longer want to just ‘react’ to the news via Facebook – I want to try to express how I feel.
I feel devastated and heartbroken about the horrific, wrongful deaths that continue to occur to humans who live in a black body. I feel very aware of, and grateful for, the privilege that I have, living in a white body. I feel frustrated as I see social media posts and comments from so many, filled with hate, denial, judgement, and ignorance. I feel nervous to say anything, and unsure of what to say. I feel furious towards any person that can deny that there is not systemic racism in this country – because it exists and persists. I feel sad that my friends who have different color skin than me are fearful every day for their lives. I feel helpless, like there is nothing I can do or say that will make a difference. I feel like our country is in a downward spiral, our daily news being filled with another shooting, more brutality, another attack. I feel like there is so much I should be doing, and I don’t know where to begin. I feel like I need to confront those that I know, and are in my life, who show signs of racism, and shake them until they understand how wrong it is. I feel so much love for every friend of mine who is black, and I wish I expressed it more often. I feel scared that I will do or say the wrong thing. But I know that I can’t not say something, even if it’s wrong, or doesn’t come out the way I intend it to.
I am sick of the racism that exists in this country, and sick of every single person who thinks anyone else is lesser than themselves. I am sick of feeling hopelessness and despair. I feel guilty for those feelings, because I am not afraid for my life, when so many are. I am sick of the ignorance that exists in so many people. I am sick of the media, sick of blame, sick of one-sided arguments. I feel disappointment in myself for all of the times that I haven’t confronted someone who has said a racist comment, however small and seemingly inconsequential the comment was. I feel proud of myself for the times that I have said something. I feel hopeful that I will continue to say something, and will continue to talk, and won’t stop talking until we solve this crisis of human rights. I am sick of staying silent. I am sick of white people saying All Lives Matter. I feel guilty for at one point thinking that too. I now know that until we fundamentally change so much in this country, Black Lives Matter.
I am not scared of walking through a crowded train station and having a bomb go off. I am not scared of being a victim of a mass shooting. I am not scared of being attacked on the street. What I am most afraid of is the loss of humanity that I see in this country and the world. When did it become okay to become so divisive on every issue, never even acknowledging that we might be wrong? When did it become okay to watch a video (for the seemingly 1000th time) of a white police officer killing a black person, and think it’s okay, or place the blame on the victim? When did indifference become okay, especially for those of us who happened to be born into a white body?
I can no longer keep quiet, and feel like I have no voice. I feel like I must use my voice, my privileged voice, to stand with my friends and with strangers that are facing injustice and fearing for their lives every day. We need to change mindsets. We need to own up to what is happening everywhere around us and stop making excuses. Yes, we need love, forgiveness, and hope. But we also need justice, consequences, and accountability. We need to stop arguing against every single thing someone says. We need to join together. We need to be okay with potentially saying the wrong thing, since our voices united together is the only thing that may lead to progress. I believe that indifference is the enemy of fear of saying the wrong thing. To my friends and to everyone I don’t know, who live within a black body – I love you. I am here for you. Please tell me what I can do to help.