it has taken me days to try and fully capture how i have been feeling and i honestly don’t know that i will ever feel totally ready or feel that my thoughts are absolutely cohesive. even still, this could not wait.
unless you literally live under a rock, this month has been filled with stories of the murders of unarmed black people whether it be by the police (like the cases of george floyd and breonna taylor) or by u.s. citizens (like in the case of ahmaud arbery) who have simply taken matters into their own hands. that doesn’t even include stories like christian cooper (an avid birdwatcher), who simply asked a woman to put a leash on her dog in central park and was threatened by her when she said, “i am going to call the police and tell them you are threatening the lives of both me and my dog!” before proceeding to pretend to be in emotional distress on the phone with the police. it was evident that she was using her white privilege to punish this black man for simply asking her to comply with the law. she knew what the ramifications were of calling the police on a black man and she did not give a fuck. to say that is problematic is a gross understatement.
i truly do not know if there is anyone who is not black that will ever fully understand what it is like to be hunted like animals at any given point in time and to know that there likely won’t even be repercussions for the people committing these murders. i also don’t know if anyone who is not black understands the amount of stress and trauma that we carry day to day that is often unaddressed. how many other groups of people do you know that read weekly about the death and mistreatment of their people and are then expected to go to work, perform as if nothing happened and oftentimes, wear a mask to be seen as the perfect token in an effort to not make others uncomfortable or to shift the perception of how people like them are received?
the only group of people i know that go through this day in and day out are black people – people like me.
shortly after starting this blog in january of 2019, i started doing questions with k. tap on instagram live once a month. people submit questions for about a week leading up to the live and i write them down to pull from a bowl. the questions can be about anything under the sun – family dynamics, the 5 love languages, grief, favorite recipes and most recently, questions around race relations in the united states. two questions that were asked earlier this week were:
- as a white woman (or man), how can i appropriately advocate for the black community?
- as a black person, do you feel like meeting force with equal force would be a step towards progress?
i answered both of these questions at length and you can review that here.
what has been more interesting are the conversations that followed – not only questions but debates, sharing of information, people checking in because they have never seen me this emotionally charged about anything i have discussed over the last 18 months.
i have spent more hours this week feeling like the walls are closing in on me. i either don’t sleep enough or i cannot stop sleeping due to the sheer emotional exhaustion of living in skin that looks like mine. i have had splitting headaches. i have cried enough tears to create a river to drown in. and guess what? the world does not stop spinning amidst all of the chaos. i am still expected to show up and hold space for those around me, even those who have acknowledged the very trauma i have talked about in this post.
the number of people i have seen remain silent or simply say they are unsure of what to say during a time like this is disgusting. the number of people who are simply posting themselves drinking their fifth hard seltzer on a boomerang on instagram who have yet to utter any of the names that i mentioned above makes my stomach churn. the number of people who have no issue appropriating black culture but are seemingly okay with the hunting of black people is foul.
i am at a point in my life where neutrality is not good enough.
“if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -desmond tutu
there have been so many people (since the protesting has started) speaking up more about the buildings that are being destroyed, the fact that all police are not the same and talking about how all lives matter. let’s get into this:
- many of the protests were peaceful until the police or random non black people made them violent yet the media is not showing that AT ALL (i know plenty of people on the front lines and their video footage is drastically different than what you are being shown on your television screens). and for the buildings that were destroyed, is there a price tag you would put on the life of your mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son, husband, wife or best friend? if there is a price, is it more than the target store you are concerned about? none of these questions are rhetorical – i am truly interested in your answer.
- while all police are not the same (i can speak on this as the daughter of a retired lapd lieutenant who never shot at anyone in nearly 30 years), the number of police who are racist, prejudiced or biased is too high if the number is more than zero. the current state of the world has already shown us how high that number could be. what is scarier to me are the police officers in this category who have not been caught yet. imagine calling the police as a black person and having to worry that when they show up, you can be gunned down when you are the victim in need of the police to serve and protect. welcome to amerikkka.
- black lives matter does not mean your life as a non black matters less. in fact, if all lives matter, why aren’t you just as angry when someone who looks like me is killed for no reason? newsflash: us black people are fully aware of how much the lives of everyone else matter. we simply want to matter just as much. if that is asking for too much, feel free to unfollow me. this is a human rights issue. it really is not that complicated.
as someone who is not black, now is not the time to talk about your views on protesting, the police or what lives matter. now is the time for you to speak up on the behalf of the black people who are often silenced or simply told we are making everything about race. now is the time for you to put your money where your mouth is. now is the time for you to read literature on how to be a better advocate and ally. now is the time for you to have the uncomfortable conversations with your family, friends, coworkers and associates that your black counterparts have been having. now is the time for you to listen.
have you ever stopped to just listen to what black people in this country are going through daily? and i mean really listen – not with the intent to respond but with the intent to understand.
and to my black people, seeking out a therapist to unpack the decades of trauma you have lived through and the centuries of trauma that came before you is in your best interest. but guess what? therapy cannot be impactful if the therapists out there are not acknowledging the injustices of our society. that being said, choose wisely.
i am not looking to have people in my circle who simply are not racist. i am looking to have people in my circle who are anti-racist. learn the difference and put it into action.
if curious about some organizations where your donations could help, click here.
and lastly, check in on your black friends, especially the strong ones. we break down, too.