I need you to be less afraid of someone being mean to you...of being wrong or misinterpreted (if you’re saying why you believe to be helpful, supportive, and true...) because the matter at hand is too great. We (Black people) are in a cornucopia of emotional states, there's a lot of different attitudes and responses happening right now.
We cant be the people living in fear of breathing wrong near the wrong authority figure at the wrong time and wrong place AND pat you on the back every time you share something or lead a protest. We are not here to simultaneously be disposable AND validate your ally ship.
If you’re about it keep doing what your doing. And do what YOU feel is in your heart and ability to do not what you think people want. You have your own life and mind. Some of you think you need to be photographed “supporting us”. Let me be clear... WE ARE NOT CHECKING FOR YOU. What does that mean? That means we aren’t waiting by the phone/computer screen for your BLM post or video. If you’re doing anything, I don’t care how big or small or what form your action takes, you ought to be doing it because you want to and because you believe it’s right. We all know how short the attention span of Americans are, how quickly we move one one big story/issue to the next. So this is not a time to be show boating for our (Black people) sake. If you’re waiting on an invite to the bbq just because you made a post or even went to a protest like stop. Ain’t no more BBQs. 2020 has cancelled that. So you have to want to do the supportive things you are doing if you really care and BE CONSISTENT. And that consistent support CAN BE PRIVATE. We know a fake friend when we see one. Everyone that posts isn’t really down and everyone that doesn’t post isn’t ignorant or apathetic.
Also a lot of us are really conflicting emotional states right now concerning even the white people we know. I'm one foot in the door “why don’t they care?/do they care about me? Boo hoo” and one foot in “I need all of y’all to leave me alone cause I just can’t deal”....And i realize that‘s unfair because my white friends haven’t done anything to make me feel that way and they’re not bad people....
but try for one second to imagine how you would have a clear head/heart in times like these. The most sensible of us (Black people) is all the way fed up and hurting, and annoyed, no less hurt than the people with the angriest and reactions...You cannot be an ally and ask all black people to have one emotional response to years of being mistreated. You cannot ask me to feel one feeling. You cannot make demands or have expectations for an experience THAT IS NOT YOURS....
and the reason some of you will be called fakes when you’re not is simple. Trust is nonexistent. It has evaporated over time. So you will need to buck up. You will need courage. You will need to not tap your black friend on the shoulder asking them to explain why some people are mad that you’re supporting and some people are not. You will need try to understand that white saviors only exist in film and so this VERY delayed burst of support can be triggering. So maybe...don’t make this about you?
Today I spoke to a physician, a Caucasian adult male about what all is going on right now. It began as a conversation about new peaks/rises in covid cases in the area and factors that have led to such. We discussed mental health and the various ways people have been affected emotionally/mentally/physically by the pandemic, civil justice issues, and many life adjustments. We spoke candidly and this is a man I did not know/had not met before today and this moment. He is good human, and clearly carries a lot of compassion for patients and people in general. I want to stress that about him because what I need to say DOES NOT NEGATE HIS GOOD CHARACTER.
This conversation we had, where it led, allowed me to realize how many good people might still be missing the mark when it comes to understanding matters of the black community. We discussed the protests and how difficult it is to stand for justice in that particular way during a pandemic, how naturally protesting does pit individuals at risk and is contributing to an increase in cases (not solely of course...). He went on to say how he gets to see what all is happening regarding looting and property destruction, “how much it’s all peaked” (the unrest) and I agree it is unfortunate such things are happening but we do know why. He then goes on to discuss his perception of the movement and how it often seems to have a “role model/spokesperson” (his words) that isn’t right for the job.
He mentions Colin Kapernick and how it seemed wrong that someone privilege and from a white home could speak for the black community implying that Colin Kapernick had no reason to feel oppressed and represent black people in that plight.... He goes on to say how what happened to George Floyd was awful and thinks the officers should be reprimanded but that he doesn’t understand why George Floyd is the spokesperson/symbol of the movement because he had a criminal history. He ends by saying Martin Luther King, Jr. was the right man, right leader, right spokesperson at the right time....
This was a peaceful conversation I had with this doctor. But my peace was greatly disturbed by the end of his response. The idea that George Floyd is some sort of figure head that we are all rallying behind is not only inaccurate, but completely dismisses the entire purpose and message of the black lives matter movement and plea for equity in this nation. George Floyd is not a spokesperson because he is deceased. George Floyd is not THE reason we speak out, protest, assemble. George Floyd is one of many reasons. Those reasons being EVERY SINGLE LIFE that has been taken. He has been added to a long list of reasons people are speaking, protesting, acting. Secondly, George Floyd... MODEL CITIZEN OR NOT, deserved to live. He did not deserve the death he endured. The same way physicians are expected to care for LITERAL CRIMINALS, people with criminal history, sex offenders, thieves, etc with the same attention and quality of care.....THAT is what is expected our legal system and ought to be required.
SO WHAT, George Floyd had a rap sheet... HIS LIFE IS STILL A LIFE. This movement is not about exalting who he was or how he lived... This movement is about the fact that he ought to live! Third, “MODEL MINORITIES ARE DYING TOO”.... point this issue is not unique to one kind of black person. The idea that only some black people are affected by this is absurd and wrong. The idea that someone with a privileged life has NEVER been discriminated against for being black (any shade) is a falsity. The idea that ONLY MODEL BLACK CITIZENS or a BLACK STEREOTYPE should represent a community as diverse as we are, is another form of racism.
Non black people having a preference on who gets to speak up on our behalf is one of the most inconsiderate things you can do. And this doctor, a kind smart and caring individual, expressed that to me and I know he did not hear that. I know he did not say those things from a hurtful place. What he said was “normal”. There are a lot of you, good people, speaking this way... You want our cause to fit your vision. You want our cause to still be acceptable by your rubric. You only want model minorities (blacks) to speak and be seen, but not too privileged because then you don’t believe they’ve been oppressed.
Do not do this.