In the wake of recent media traction of the two-month old murder of Ahmaud Arbery, I shared a Facebook post by speaker and author, Sharon Jamison from May 7th, 2020, where she asserted:
I don’t want white people to apologize. I want them to use their privilege to help dismantle a system that kills black people.
After posting it, I received a message from a dear friend who’s white. She asked exactly what it is that she’s expected to do? I didn’t consider the motivation behind her question because her feelings for having the question are rightfully her own and an analysis of that wasn’t really required for me to give her my thoughts on the matter. I took on the role of messenger which is something I’m getting really good at as I navigate parenting 20 somethings. When my children come to me with a question or a need for input on a choice they intend to make, I succinctly offer my truth as I see it and move on with my day.
In that regard, I offered my friend this:
- Acknowledge that racism exists.
- Fully understand the impact of it on nonwhite people.
- Challenge your assumptions and motivations when forming an opinion on social issues involving black people.
- Ask questions and be willing to accept the validity of another’s perspective from a lived experience that is not your own.
- Champion causes that are designed to facilitate equity in opportunity. Conscious and unconscious biases are at work that make this very necessary.
- Tell your uncle Bob, your co-worker Karen, your supervisor Tom, your husband Josh, to shut the fuck up when they go on about “them niggers…”
I am resolute in my understanding of how pervasive racism is. Those who made it their business to construct the institution were very thorough in weaving their virus-like ideology in with our natural human instincts, the latter being the same no matter what racial category we are placed in. They are woven so tightly that unwinding them seems impossible.
At this point, I seriously question the possibility of all of us living totally free from the sick mindset that avails itself upon us, generation after generation. Down every street we jog, in every park where our children play , in every coffee shop we enter, on every road we drive, the evil of racism lurks. It’s either a simmering boil or boiling over scalding everyone in its path.
My heart goes out to Ms. Wanda Cooper, Ahmaud’s mother, and the rest of his family. I suspect I will compose other writings motivated by similar events and my heart is heavy. I’m going to text my two sons now, to make sure they are okay.
Image used courtesy of https://unsplash.com/@thirdworldhippy
2 thoughts on “I Don’t Want White People to Apologize”
Thank you for letting me know what to do. Much love dear friend xxxx
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