Dear White People. Don’t make this about you.
In the midst of an uprising of immense evil in our country, I urge you – I beg you – please, please do not make this about you. I scrolled through my facebook today, of course. Because of an internal urge to grieve and agree with those who are posting about black lives and black violence, and to disagree and hiss at those who were posting otherwise. As I scrolled, my insides began to burn with greater and greater reactive fuming rage. On the one hand, powerful were the were posts from black men and women and sympathetic white individuals, but especially black men and women, speaking of fear and anger mostly, and of pain. They ignited in me permeating feelings of fear, anger and deep empathy. Every post declaring that all lives matter and perhaps unknowingly downplaying the significance of the brutal shootings of black men and women by police officers made my insides squirm with absolute disgust and bitter hate. Anger jostled in my brain. It punched me in the gut. Anger because the fact is, that black people can be brutally murdered on a regular basis and yet we downplay it to the point of absolute zero, and remind everyone to not focus too much on black people – even though black people are the ones getting shot. Honestly, if a bully pushes down a kid with less power on the playground, a teacher should not run up and say, “yes, Junior, you were hurt, but remember – you both matter.” Yes, they do both matter. But we tend to the injured first.
Now that that’s out of the way, and I hope and pray that something in what I write could change someone’s mind – let me note that what was said previous is not the point of my post. I am quite white, was raised in an almost entirely white town, and a white family, with white friends. I have had little exposure to black people in my life. 98% of my Facebook friends are white. That’s why I’ve gotta write. This is all I’ve got. An ability to call out to the hundreds of facebook friends that I do have. To ask, plead, beg, for you – all of you – to please not make this about you. Preaching all lives matter is a form of not making this about black people – which this is. It really is about black people. They’re the majority of the ones getting shot with no cause, so lets agree that the vast majority is about them. Now – my fear as I was scrolling through facebook was that we as white people would not only take it this far. It’s one thing to suck away at the attention that black people deserve in the midst of mass violence against their race. This is wrong, it is despicable. It is inhumane. But what I fear of white people, us, being the social media junkies that we are, is that we will take this phenomenon of race and riots and make it about us. What I mean is, because this may soon be the trendy thing to post, tweet, instagram about, we may feel compelled to post tweet about black lives matter to be accepted by our culture – to up our facebook cred – to gain the title of “activist” or ally and then be able to move about our business. This is my cry out to you, my white facebook friends. Please – please, when you are posting about black lives matter, when you are commenting on a subjcet that is so painstakingly important and crucial, in ways that are beyond us, higher than us, and more devastating than we understand – please do not make this about you. Do not make being a #blacklivesmatter supporter about you, for your gain.
Let the fuel behind your clicks be the injustice of the situation, not the exposure you will receive. For this is the entire point of the movement. That yes, white people are important – okay, but can we focus on black people for a second? Because some despicable stuff is going down currently and if we don’t all band together and start praying, caring, sympathizing, talking, protesting, then this injustice is never going to change. What we are fighting for is a culture where a black person can walk down the street and not feel fear of violence, and where a white person can walk down the street and be seen as no different than a black person, in terms of value, intelligence, significance, worth. Does that cover everything? Because if you are jumping on this movement to be validated, please. Do not jump off. We need you. We need everyone we can get. But I urge you to take your eyes and put them first on God and then on black people. Stare this crisis in the face,
stare these shootings in the face, stare God Himself in the face and then realize that this is so beyond being about you. This is so beyond being relevant. This is so so beyond being cool on social media. This is about them. This is about humanity and justice. This is about peace and hope. This is about love.
Right now, love is being mocked, ridiculed, spit on and ultimately destroyed. We live in a country where a portion of the population cannot feel the security of having a police force that works for them. In fact, they must fear the opposite. This is love set ablaze. We must burn back. We must be the tide that pushes against the fires of injustice and inequality. Even if this means giving up rights, giving up privilege, giving up security. This is what’s at stake when you post to support the people in peril. This is what’s at stake when you say you want to join forces with the oppressed. Get ready for it. Help in any way you can. The only thing I can think to do, right now, is write. I can write, I have a voice, I have a limited audience. But I will use what I have. And I urge others – use what you have. If you have any sort of influence on social media – instagram, tumblr, whatever – write about this. Start a conversation. The biggest impacts we will probably have are on those around us, educating
and informing each other about the major issue that people must be convinced cannot be overlooked. White people, we have the biggest influence on white people that exists. Next time you’re with a friend, share the videos of men getting shot and then talk about it. Share the testimonies of black women who are weeping because they have decided not to have children, for fear of bringing more black children into a dangerous world. Pray. Of course, pray. Think. Try to attempt to imagine what it might be like to not feel safer walking by a police station, to have images rush in your mind of people of your color getting shot when you are pulled over, to be looked at like a thug when you’re just a college student wearing a hoodie at night. Try to fathom it. And look at them. Look to them – look to black people for their opinions, their hearts, their hurts, their fears. Read articles written by them. Listen to black celebrities. Care about anyone else right now but yourself, because blacklivesmatter isn’t to be relevant. This is real. And we need all hands
It isn’t. About you.
P.S. – My heart goes out to the victims of the Dallas shootings as well. It just wasn’t mentioned because it wasn’t the subject I was covering.