Recently I got an irate text from someone that I love. They wrote about my support and allyship within the Black Lives Matter Movement as unamerican and reverse discrimination. It made me sad for multiple reasons. I sat with my sadness for a moment, the familiar feeling of it settling in my heart. I said to myself, this feeling is white privilege. My opinions do not get to matter in this movement, and here is why. As white people, we stand on a fantastic precipice of change if we decide to take it.
It’s white privilege, and many People of Color don’t have that luxury. The Black Lives Matter is about all of us. It is fundamentally about the human condition.
Social change is messy, and it is about ego, that is the bottom line. The Black Lives Matter movement for the white person means we have not been listening; it means we are too busy telling People of Color what is and is not racist.
Let us start by educating ourselves about our real history. As you learn and listen about truth, pay attention to how you feel.
That gut reaction that says, but what about me? This makes me feel sad, guilty, mad. That is “privilege”. That is white fragility and ego. Black Lives Matter for a white person is being quiet and quietly listening to Black voices. Standing up to our family and friends, showing solidarity to end racism. Black Lives Matter is as diverse as the stars in the universe. Each Person of Color has its own experience with racism. We show our support by quietly accepting, listening, and knowing we will never fully understand because we are white. White privilege must be used to give People of Color the space to be angry and resentful. We must swallow our ego, knowing that for hundreds of years, Black trauma was put upon them by a system put in place by Whites.
Politicizing Black Lives Matter is White privilege. We must get to a point in acknowledgment that this is a human rights issue. If you are White and find yourself watching opinions or news commentaries that make you afraid of the movement, realize you are being used. Remember to keep perspective. News personalities that twist facts to stoke up racial fears are doing so to gain ratings. White people have nothing to lose but fear. White privilege dictates that this fight is on us. We have a vast potential for personal growth as well as growth as a nation. I pray that we all will rise to this opportunity. I genuinely believe the only thing that Black people need from us is to get out of their way, take a step back, swallow our ego, accept without judgment, and learn what supporting Black Lives Matter means. Let us start looking up to Black folks in humility.
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