It is a little after 1 a.m. CST, and I feel compelled to write this, even if not one person reads it. It is something that needs to be said and if it has been, bears repeating.
Racism is obviously alive and well here in 2019. That is not something I am debating with anyone. But this next part may surprise some of you.
I will start by saying that while racist individuals are a MAJOR problem in our country, I will go as far as to say they are NOT even the biggest problem.
Those who are a bigger problem are the people who choose to remain silent.
I am not interested in the various reasons one chooses to be quiet about the blatant racism that occurs on a daily basis. It does not matter if it is some random person on the street, or as much as I wish this were a figure of speech, the President of the United States. When fellow American citizens are treated in such ways and it is not enough to get you to so much as say a word about it, there is not much that can be said to justify that silence.
But here’s the thing. It’s not simply the silence that’s the problem. It’s how some take it a step further and actually make this an issue with how people of color choose to respond. You’re more upset with us for responding to the racism than you are that the racism exists in the first place.
That is the equivalent of being angry at the person who calls the fire department, but not the one who set the fire.
The reason I feel many just blame people of color for how we speak up against racism is just that it’s easier. To take any REAL steps to fight racism for some would be too much work. Not to mention, many don’t want to “rock the boat” and would rather maintain the status quo out of pure convenience. This also accounts for the “Both sides need to stop” rhetoric. It is far more convenient to blame both sides, not because both sides are wrong, but because you don’t want to take any amount of time to address the REAL issues that exist.
Think about that parent who has at least two children. If you’re a parent with multiple children, then you’ve been here before. There is a good chance that at some point, you’ve heard the two children fighting, you entered the room and told them BOTH to “be quiet” or to “stop.” At that moment, you were not interested in justice. You wanted quiet. That was more convenient to you.
Now, did doing that mean one of those children did NOT have a legitimate concern and justification to fight his or her sibling? No. But in telling them both to be quiet, how would you know that? How does that guarantee that the child with the legitimate issue would no longer have that issue? And this is in no way to judge parents who do this. I’ve done the same thing myself, many times.
I’ve seen and heard many white people kick their feet and throw tantrums when people of color speak up against racism, thinking that the proverbial stomping of the feet and telling them to “stop it!” is supposed to work. It doesn’t. The more you stomp your feet about it, the more clear it is that you do not understand why we are speaking up in the first place. Just like that parent, you don’t even know what you’re specifically telling us to “be quiet” about. You’re just saying to do it so that life is more convenient for you.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee, the first thing many people did was call him names and say he “disrespected veterans” even though a veteran was the one who suggested he do it. But what many also said was to the effect that he “should be thankful that he lives in a country that lets him play football,” or “Yeah, he’s really oppressed, as he’s a millionaire.”
Comments like that speak to just how tone deaf many people are. But again…much easier to just fault him for wanting to speak up than to look in America’s mirror and see us for what we are. No, it’s much simpler to put a dollar value on it and say that blacks who have money can’t be oppressed, nor can they speak up for those who are.
If the police pull me over or harass me for no reason, that officer is wrong. So why are you giving ME the list of things to do or not to do so that something bad doesn’t happen? Because it is easier to just blame me for saying something than it is to fight law enforcement, since that would be a much longer and tougher process.
When you tell me to “stop blaming white people for my problems,” how do you even know that those are problems I actually have myself? If you see me protesting, why do you automatically assume I do not have a job? When I speak up about racism, why do you feel the need to tell me that “not all white people are racist” when I have never suggested they are?
You see…our country is not going to hell because racist people exist.
It is going to hell because people who claim they are not racist are silent.
Because see…you might think that the person who sets fire to your house is pretty bad. Until you realize how many people sat and just watched them do it.