Dear White People,
What the heck is the matter with you? Stop apologizing for being white and privileged.
How is that not as racist as categorically judging people of color? Instead of judging others, you are judging your own white skin on the same exact merits…none. Nobody chose their color at birth or the resultant amount of privilege they would receive, so stop acting shameful and defensive about it.
Moreover, that is as empty as your lifelong silence about racial inequality. Now you want to speak up? Has it become cool enough? You do realize that your history of maintaining and exploiting the socially acceptable position is the reason racial inequality has survived this long, don’t you?
Let me be honest. Your apology is not going to do anything except make you look even more white and privileged. If you are trying to make yourself feel better, stop apologizing. If you are trying to make real change in this country, stop apologizing. Apologies and other forms of self-assurances and pandering will not stamp out the disease of racism in our country.
Before we continue, let us not confuse what I have said with those of you that outright refuse to apologize based on ignorance and denial of systemic racial inequality. That makes you a whole different box of cracker jacks. You are the rebel yell of racism and belong with every other hate group that believes might is right.
I am not worried about you. You are the type to wear your hatred on your sleeve, hang it from your flagpole, and ramble about it with incoherent verbosity. We can all see you from a mile away. And you, my friend, truly are the minority.
Back to you, my white privileged apologists. My guess is half of you would like to do more, if it is not too inconvenient, and the other half are skeptical and want to do more research first. Okay, this is a good start after more than 400 years of crushing the identities of people of color.
I mean that sincerely. I do not care where you start, just that you start. Why? Well, here is the kicker.
Until the white privileged majority decide they must eradicate social, economic, and racial injustice, it will never happen.
Never. Nope. Not a chance.
You do not have to believe me. Please refer yourself to every civil rights struggle in this country and notice how the opposition in power, usually the white privileged majority, fought to keep the status quo. It was not until they had to relent, sometimes facing the challenge from other whites, that we saw laws, minds, and eventually hearts change.
You are the roadblock. You. Until you decide to stop blocking a just and moral cause, until you agree that you are the problem, and until you get past your conveniently unhelpful guilt-shame-victim cycle, the fight and struggle for equality will continue with violent consequences.
How many times must you make people of color fight for their legal and God-given rights? They ask peacefully and you tell them no. They protest and you accuse them of being unruly. Well, howdy do! Did you not make the rules, and most likely without their input, consent, and representation? Isn’t that like the Karen calling the other Karen white?
When some of the protesters’ frustrations result in violence, you lump them all together as criminals and thugs. When your racist cousins show up to incite violence even further, you are in no rush to call them out. When the law gives you an excuse, you take it.
What if you were to stop relenting and start pushing? Instead of being the block resistance, turn around and be the battering ram against those that insist on remaining in the blockade. The struggle for social equality and even-handed justice exists within yourselves. This is not a black vs. white battle. It is a moral battle against the deleterious effects of historical privilege on the unprivileged.
Did you know that,
To ask a minority to win a battle against a powerful majority is as cruel as me asking you to attempt to move a mountain as I cheer you on from the sidelines. Welcome to the movement for equal rights. It is not sufficient to understand and support anymore. The mountain of systemic racism will never budge until something of equivalent energy, size, and strength makes it move. That is, you.
If you were not aware of these few examples of systemic racism, that is the point. You have the privilege of learning them while others must live them. Privilege has a long history of causing blindness among its own. This is not a blame, shame, or fault statement. It simply is. If you can understand what is happening, you can have empathy for those it is directly affecting on a daily basis and take responsibility for it so that we can change it together.
As I close this letter, I do not implore you as some evangelical outsider. I AM you. I am a one-hundred-percenter on the spoiled scale: White, male, educated, young, able-bodied, heterosexual, middle-class. I have received straight A’s in privilege. And I am calling you and me out.
The time for silent complicity with the unjust minority in power must end. The past shall never be forgotten but that does not mean it cannot be forgiven. Forgive yourselves, connect with your personal God, meditate, or whatever you need to do to clean the slate in your own mind. Please do it fast. People are being hurt every day.
You were not born racist. You were born white and systemically privileged. We can choose to stop apologizing and acknowledge the responsibility that others’ lives are in our hands, literally. For racism cannot stand if we refuse to stand for racism.
Your fortunate friend,