Here’s the good and bad of it: I really don’t think this conversation will stop. Nor do I think people will ever be able to see past the black and white because we’re so inside of the “black and white” of it all. So this is by no means an end-all/be-all post, but it’s a few thoughts I needed to get out of my head on the matter of what is happening right now. It’s not that it hasn’t been happening before the murders of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless others. It’s not to take away from the lives lost of individuals, young or old, from any other race or culture out there. This is coming down to the simple facts of the matter.
The world consists of the good and bad despite your upbringing. I can only speak from my own experience as a black person growing up in Canada. Was it all bad? Of course not. Do I look back and realize why some things happened the way they did? I sure do. Am I more aware of the injustices, prejudices and discrimination now that I’m an adult? 100%. People…the fact is, whether you want to believe it or not, whether you are like this or not, black people are not valued the same way as white people. I wish I didn’t have to make such a blanketed statement, but there just isn’t enough time or words in this post to break it down any more.
Now, here are some things I need to point out:
Being black is not a weapon. Being black is not a crime. I mean, are we saying that because evil and bad things are associated with things that are dark in colour/nature, we’re going to use this mentality to dictate how we treat……..HUMANS? I mean, black people have done it to ourselves for years. People with lighter skin were and still are coveted more often than those who are darker. People who are darker are using lightening agents to achieve this for whatever reasons. Light = good, dark = bad. C’mon, 2014, we’re better than this. Listen, I’ve dated interracially since I began dating. I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t think white men or latino men or aboriginal men are better than black men. I’ve dated black men. But I can tell you from my experience (and only my experience), when we’re getting to know each other and the music I dig, the fashion that gets me off, the sports I “stan” for…more often than not, these black men don’t necessarily relate. I don’t hold it against them, I don’t care. There are black men I’m friends with who love the same things I love, but I can assure you, they are not interested in me romantically. Do I hold THAT against them? NO! Why? Why can’t everyone like who they like despite race, religion, instilled childhood beliefs, blah blah blah. There is a difference between being interested in someone BECAUSE of the colour of their skin (curiosity, fetishism) & falling for someone who happens to be a different race. Intent is a huge things, folks and more people need to focus on this. It would solve a million issues from the get-go.
Standing up for black rights does not mean you are anti-white people in any way. There are those who take it to that extreme, and I’m not in that category. The same way there are many white people who don’t fall under the category of “racist.” White does not equate to racist and I really wish some of the people fighting for the #BlackLivesMatter cause would refrain from infecting the movement with that hatred. It doesn’t help the cause; it doesn’t help anyone.
White privilege isn’t a myth. Many white people take offence to this term because it shines a spotlight on a life they may take for granted. There are a lot of white people who had hard lives growing up, so hearing the term “privilege” doesn’t sit right with them. How were they privileged when they were/are homeless, had abusive parents/spouses, dropped out of school, on welfare, etc? The only way I can try to explain this is if a black person had the same set of circumstances they would be looked upon as “ghetto” or automatically assumed to be criminals or bad people even if they’ve never done anything wrong. A watchful eye would always be around because “they must be up to no good.” Whereas when the person is white and they DO something illegal, there seems to be this underlying understanding : “They fell on hard times,” “they always meant well,” “they deserve a second chance,” “I never would’ve thought…” That’s privilege. Not having to second guess your outfit when you leave the house because of how you might be treated is white privilege. Then realizing it doesn’t really matter what you wear WHEN you leave your home is white privilege. It just is. It’s just facts. And if that makes you feel weird or uneasy, THAT is the feeling we want you to have to help us bring equality to EVERYONE.
Guys, I fear for this world. It keeps me up at night. It seems everyone’s true colours (no pun intended) are coming out full force. I, for one, have unfriended/blocked people whom I thought were my friends. Not even for saying anything TO me but just what they’re putting out there in the world. If they disagree with something I feel so passionately about, then they can’t be here to support me. It’s…impossible.
There is a lot of good coming out of these protests and people organizing raising awareness to the inequality and injustices. People are tired. All people. That’s encouraging to see. But there’s a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of educating to be done and lessons to be learned. Everyone out there isn’t doing it for the greater good. There are disturbers of peace and vigilantes who are using their anger in a negative way. While I sometimes feel like I want to smash something because I’m going to be seen as a criminal anyway, I know that’s not the way to help the cause. For anyone.
These are a scattering of my thoughts. I needed to get some of it off my chest. I realize the people who are set in their ways, will immediately fly off the handle and not read the words I’m saying. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, I’m not saying that I’m jealous of your lives, I’m just saying this is the world we live in. And if you can’t see that….THAT is privilege.
I hope for so many solutions to be found in my lifetime & I hope the world keeps me alive long enough to see some of these happen.
#BlackLivesMatter to us and we just want them to matter to you too.