Hellooo, Fellow White People
It is time for us to admit it.
I have told a racist joke. I have laughed at a racist joke. So have you.
I have racially profiled that one person (or, okay, possibly lots of people) while I was walking down the street or buying a car or sitting in church or going to class or on the dancefloor or whatever. So have you.
I, as a white person, have benefitted from White Privilege. I have benefitted from racism. Any discrimination I may have experienced due to my gender, orientation, state of health, religion, or economic background is irrelevant. I have benefitted from systemic racism. I have benefitted from White Privilege.
It is time for us to admit to this. It is time for us to acknowledge this. It is time for us, as white people, to admit that WE ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
So we’ve admitted it. Now what?
Remember that racist joke? Never tell that joke again. Don’t tell it ironically. Don’t tell it to an audience that you know wont be offended. Just never tell that racist joke again.
Stop laughing at racist jokes. Even if there isn’t anyone around whom you think might be offended. ESPECIALLY if you think there might be some truth to the joke. Stop laughing at racist jokes. If your friend tells that kind of joke, it is now your job to call them on it. It is now your job to tell them “Hey, that’s kinda racist. We shouldn’t be telling that sort of joke.”
Be aware of your White Privilege. Use if for good, if you can: this means advocating Black Lives Matter. This means not letting that one guy on the bus harass that Muslim/Mexican/black person. This means staying as a witness and getting out your phone to film it if you see a cop interacting with a black person. This means actively making an effort.
I am not speaking as a former White Supremacist who’s seen the light. I am speaking as a ‘perfectly nice’ white person who grew up near the train-tracks in a neighborhood that my mother once described as ‘recently desegregated’. Most of the kids at my school were black; all the people at my church were white. At school I learned about how racism was over thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. At church I learned that God called us to love all peoples of the earth, and at Sunday School we learned a song about how “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world… Red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world!”
All this is to say, I did not grow up thinking of myself as a racist. I did not find out how much racism existed in my modern, civilized, south-of-the-Mason/Dixon-Line state until recently.
You don’t have to actively ‘hate’ black people, Mexicans, Asians, immigrants, Jews, or Muslims to be part of the problem.
Fellow white people, it is time for us to admit that we have all said, done, and thought racist things. It is time for us to stop talking about hurt feelings when we hear the word ‘racism’. It is tiem for us to actively try to do better.
IT IS TIME FOR US, AS WHITE PEOPLE, TO ACTIVELY TRY TO DO BETTER. IT IS TIME TO STAND WITH STANDING ROCK. STAND WITH BLACK LIVES MATTER. IT IS TIME TO ADMITT THAT I, PERSONALLY, HAVE DONE WRONG AND IT IS LONG PAST TIME TO DO BETTER
This has been a public service announcement