If you are a person trying to understand why black people are upset at the police and why we are protesting, I invite you to read what I have to say that will hopefully address some of the questions that you may have. And if you’re not trying to understand these things, you’re still invited to read too.
With the recent tragedies that have hit our nation this week, it’s past time that we had a little talk. I read an interesting article titled White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism and it has inspired me to open up a little more about what is going on in our country. I’m sure I might have stepped on some toes when I shared the article to my Facebook page and also when I addressed a few comments that people have made about the situation that may go against what they believe. But there are some things that you need to know and somebody has to say them.
Before I start, I do want to give a little background info. I’m a black woman in my late twenties that grew up in the small southern town of Selma, North Carolina. I am a Christian and do strive to base a lot of my views on what I think Jesus would want. My perspective is my own and although I can’t speak for all of black America, I know that there are others with the same thoughts as mine.
Do black people have a reason to be upset at the police?
If your mother told you to go to your dad if you needed help with your math homework, and when you finally went to him for help, he beat you and called you stupid for asking him for help, how would that make you feel? Dads are supposed to help and protect their children so after an incident where he broke that belief and reacted in an unexpected way, it would be difficult for you to go back to your dad the next time you needed help with your math homework.
Growing up, we’re told that we should go to the police if we need help. After all, their duty is to serve and to protect. But when you hear of incidents such as Philando Castille, a 32 year old Minnesota man who was shot and killed by police for simply obeying orders, how are we supposed to feel? Hearing so many similar stories of other black Americans losing their lives from those we are told would protect us, is really difficult. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” That has now changed to “kill now, ask questions later.”
But not all cops are bad you may say. And I happen to agree with you. I know some fine people who have served as cops, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to be upset at the bad ones. Bad cops + good cops ≠ acceptable.
What do black people want from white people?
There is one thing that white people will never understand, and that is what it is really like to be a black person. However, you can listen to our perspective on things with an open mind. When you simply dismiss our feelings and say that they don’t make any sense or it’s outrageous for us to feel how we feel, then that means you have still closed yourself off to the issue.
Have conversations and get to know people who are different than you are. I think it’s funny how many people tell me that they have a black friend. Well, when was the last time that you had a deep conversation with them and not just ask them how they’re doing? Invite them over for dinner or meet at a coffee shop. Let them know that you are concerned about what is going on in our country and that you want to better understand their perspective.
I don’t think white people should be ashamed for being white or for being born into “white privilege.” However, you have a voice that although I hate to say it, can be considered stronger and more powerful. Use that voice to speak out against what is happening. When you hear people say things that you know are wrong, speak up.
I want to close with two quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.that I want you to ponder.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
If you have a question and are curious to know my perspective, please leave a comment and I will be sure to address it.