Dear White People,
What the hell is the matter with you? Stop apologizing for being white and privileged.
First, that is as racist as categorically judging people of color. Instead of judging people of color, you are judging your own white ass on the same exact merits…none. Nobody chose their color at birth or the resultant amount of privilege they would receive, so stop being an idiot about it.
Second, 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?
Finally, your apology isn’t going to do shit except make you look even more white and privileged. If you’re trying to make yourself feel better, stop apologizing. If you’re 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 your ignorance and denial of racial inequality. That makes you a whole other box of cracker jacks. You are the rebel yell of racism and belong with every other hate group that believes might is right, even as you ironically scream out loud with the pansy, cry-me-a-river insecurity of any given bully.
What’s sad is that it really isn’t your fault that you are too weak to even question the false foundation of your childhood. It’s proven that you weren’t born to hate, so you must have been taught it. Now you refuse to shake the tree of truth for fear of what might fall on your head.
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 apologetics. 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 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 of other whites, that we saw laws, minds, and 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 and 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 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,
- White families (77% of population) hold 90% of the wealth, while black families (13% of the population) hold 2.6% of the wealth? (prospect.org)
- Blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed than whites consistently over the past 60 years, regardless of the economy? (pew research) And when you add a college degree, those numbers don’t change? (nber.com)
- Black children are three times more likely to be suspended as white children for similar infractions? (ed.gov)
- Blacks make up 40% of the prison population (13% of the total population) and are given sentences 20% longer than whites convicted of similar crimes? (ussc.gov)
- Black drivers are 30% more likely to be pulled over by the police than whites? (Stanford study)
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, and have empathy for those it is directly affecting on a daily basis, you can now take responsibility for it so that you can be empowered to change it.
As I close this letter, I do not implore you as some evangelical outsider. I AM you. I’m 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’m calling you and me out.
The time for silent complicity with an unjust majority 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.
You were not born racist. You were born white and privileged. We can choose to reject the former and acknowledge the responsibility of the latter. For racism cannot stand if we refuse to stand for racism.
Your fortunate friend,