It might come out wrong, but at least we’re speaking.Pastor Steven Furtick, Be The Bridge
I didn’t grow up with a lot of black classmates. I didn’t even have a lot of black friends when I was little. I honestly didn’t pay them any mind. Because, well, I saw no difference. They were kids, like me. My mom didn’t hang around black people either. I remember one. I can’t remember his name, but I knew he was black and gay, and Mom liked him, so he was cool with me.
I don’t think it was until middle school, when Mom and I moved to an apartment complex that had a few more black people around than anywhere else I’d been. And you know what? It didn’t bother me. I liked them. I even walked to school with a couple of black boys. Was Mom scared? Nope. Was I scared? Nope. I remember feeling safe (for some reason). Like, if anyone tried to mess with me, they’d be there to protect me (one was really tall and I think people were intimidated by him). Thanks, Veto.
When I went to college, in Tennessee, the first two people I really connected with were Korey and Donovan, two black guys. Korey and I hit it off right off the bat because he too is from Michigan. Donovan was his friend, and the more I hung out with Korey, the more Donovan and I hung out. Then there’s Pete. Funny, passionate, cool guy to be around. I also met Tiffany. She’s a fantastic artist. She nicknamed me Peanut (I can’t remember why, but it stuck).
When I got my job in the deli here in Virginia, I worked with a black family. They welcomed me with open arms, they invited me over for Thanksgiving, and Christmas. They treated me like I was one of their own. When my mom passed, they cried with me, and held me, and told me they’d do anything they could to help. Joey, who used to be a stocker there, is one of my favorite people ever. We were on the same wavelength mentally, and spiritually.
This is why I’m hurt. I’m hurt, and I’m angry, and I’m speechless. I can’t bring myself to say the right the words. I can’t bring myself to be articulate and proper and a polished writer. But that’s not what is needed right now. I need to be real, and honest, and speak truth, no matter what. And that’s what I’m here to try to do.
I hate injustice. I really do. In my post, “Find A Need And Fight For It,” I go more in-depth about how I feel on the subject. I highly recommend reading it, it’s very fitting for this time.
But I guess I don’t hate it enough. I wasn’t moved to write this post when George Floyd was killed, I was moved when the protests started. I’m sorry that I didn’t get angry sooner.
But I’m here now, and I’m ready to talk. I’m coming out of my “writing retirement” to speak up on an issue that hits me deep, right in my, “fight against injustice” core. So speak up I will.
I have another post, “I Choose To Disrupt,” where I talk about how, in my writing, my characters often rebel against the status quo, and make small but significant choices. This definitely ties in to real life. I believe everyone has a choice.
So, here’s where I go off.
Black people did not choose to be black, but people choose to be racist. With all of the resources out there for people to learn from, people still choose to hate, people still choose to be ignorant, and people still choose to be uneducated. Black people did not choose the color of their skin, so why do we hate them for something that they did not control? Why do we hate people for something that they cannot control? It is not their fault. Why are we faulting them?
I didn’t choose to be white. Why am I treated any better just because of something that I couldn’t control? You take one look at me and you walk away without a second thought. But you look at a black person, and they are immediately bad? Because of their skin color? Because their ancestors came from a different country? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Not because they robbed your house? Or stole your car? Or called you a bad name? But because they’re DARKER THAN YOU? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
White people brought their ancestors over here because they wanted people to work for them. They brought them here. And now you’re hating on them? Why?! Do we still want black people to be oppressed 401 years later? Are we jealous that the people that were brought over here to work for us and do our jobs are trying to make the best out of a bad situation that started 401 years ago? WHAT. IS. OUR. DEAL?
This year marks the four hundred and first year since the start of slavery. That’s a long freaking time for this stuff to keep going.
Yes, black people are different. I get it. Some have different attitudes, and outlooks, and ways of expression their opinions. They can be “scary” or “intimidating” because they’re “aggressive” or…I don’t know, “hard to handle?” This is what I get from other non-black people who don’t know how to “be around them.”
But God people, why do you think that is? Why do you think they can be so hard? If you don’t have an answer to that, well, I’m sure you do now. Take a look around you! Listen to what they’re trying to tell us. Listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us. When we talk to people who can’t hear us, what do we do? We talk louder.
That’s what they’re doing. They’re getting loud. But not because we can’t hear them. It’s because we’re choosing not to. Yeah, we’re choosing to ignore someone who is trying to tell us that there’s a problem. Why? Because *gasp* we’re the ones who created it!
Dear white people, white people started this. Why are we carrying on? Why is this happening? Why can’t we stop this? I know it’s not white versus black, it’s everyone versus racists. But I’m talking to white people because we are the majority, and we have a lot of say in this matter.
Do I believe in white privilege? Yep. Yes, I said it. I believe it. I also believe that it’s a blessing that we don’t think about. The President, the owner of a company, the principal of a school, they have privilege too, because they are in a position of power. Hopefully they don’t abuse that power and do what is right for the whole, not just who they like, or who will be happier with their decisions. We have that power too, and we have to do the same thing. Because we can. Because we must.
Dear black people, it is not your fault that you’re black. But it is my fault for you being treated a certain way because of something you can’t control. It may not be my fault directly, but you better believe I will stand here and take some of the blame, because yes, I am at fault if I don’t do something. And honestly, I don’t do enough.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re treated this way. I’m sorry. I feel. I feel you. I feel your pain and anger. I hear you. I’m here for you. I see your color. I see your struggle. I’m hurt, sad, angry, maybe even enraged. But most of all, I am sorry.
I read on Instagram, “If people can hate for no reason, I can love.” So, I love you. I can’t show that in many way, but I can cry with you, and tell you that I’m here for you, and I hurt with you. I watch Instagram videos, see pictures, listen to stories. I don’t condone looting and setting cars on fire, or violence in general. But I am not opposed to flipping a table, or dumping tea in the Boston Harbor, or not moving when someone tells you to move because someone who society thinks is better than you needs what you have.
So you do what you have to do to get your point across. You march in those streets, you stand up for what you believe in, you scream out names until the walls come down. You be your “aggressive,” passionate selves. You do you, and you do it right.
You are human beings just like me. Why am I treated any different?
In the words of DeStorm Power,
“It’s ok to welcome a little discomfort in your life for people who experience discomfort every day.”
Was this uncomfortable? A little. Is this how I feel? Absolutely. Am I sorry for this post? You know I don’t swear, but, HELL NO.
Black Lives Matter.