This has been a crazy couple of weeks in this country, has it not? I struggled with whether or not I should even chime in on this topic. Do I have the right? Am I knowledgeable? Do I have enough experience? What right do I have? Who do I think I am? I truly don’t know if I can answer any of those questions. But I do know my heart and my brain tell me I should say something. They both tell me that I can’t just sit back and feel the sting of defeat. That I can’t sit idly and watch this all unfold. That I shouldn’t be silent when I see and hear things that just aren’t right. That if I don’t speak up, who will? I don’t really know what I hope to gain from this post. I DO know I don’t want to just check off a box and say “Look at that post, see I tried.” and then go about my merry way. So here I am, throwing my ten cents out into the Google machine in hopes that maybe one or two people will read what I write and reflect with ” I never really thought about it like that.” or even maybe “Hmmm, she’s has some valid points.”
Did the title of my post turn you off? Piss you off? Make you roll your eyes? I bet for some of you it did. I expected that. I’m not offended. I bet you’re tired of hearing about white privilege, “Black Lives Matter”, and all that jazz. But I wish you weren’t. I wish you understood how lucky us white people really are. I can already hear it now “Oh for the love Megan!” I know, I know. It hurts to hear doesn’t it? Does it make you cringe? Make you uncomfortable? I know it does. Mostly because I know you don’t even realize it. How could you? How could you fathom what it’s like to be black in this country, if you aren’t black? You’ve never dealt with racism, you’ve never been profiled by a police offer because you were “Driving While Black” (yea you guys say that in jest, but it’s a REAL thing). You were never not allowed to vote (except us women, we know all too well about that don’t we), drink from the same water fountain, get an education, receive a bank loan, be afraid to raise a black son (I could go ON AND ON, but I won’t…). You were always allowed those basic things, because you are white.
It’s been just over 50 years since segregation ended (1964). But let’s be real folks, the whole nation, every single person in this country, didn’t wake up one day and change our minds about black folks. Nope. Segregation may have been illegal, but racism was/is still very alive and running rampant. It’s ingrained in us. Generations raised on a belief system. So it isn’t your fault, you just don’t know any better. But really, you do. You do know better.
You do know that blacks are stopped by police more frequently that whites. You do know that blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be shot by officers than whites. You do know that minorities don’t have the same opportunities that we, as white Americans do, BECAUSE you do know that it takes a little longer than 50 years to end an entire belief system, to correct our wrongs, to provide equality. No one is saying that your life doesn’t matter. No one is saying the life of police officers doesn’t matter. No one wants to incite violence or retaliate. What people are saying is that we cannot continue to turn and blind eye. We can’t. We can’t continue to act like this is okay. We can’t continue to ignore that generations, GENERATIONS, were taught to hate and raised with racial bias.
Listen, I’m white. I’m privileged just by being born white. It’s a fact. I grew up lower-middle class, but in a predominately white neighborhood. I was schooled in public schools, well-funded, surrounded by mostly white children (But I will give it up to my alma mater, Princess Anne High School, in Virginia Beach, VA. It was by far one of the most diverse schools when I speak to my inner circle about their high school experience. Thanks PA, love you forever!). I went to predominately white college, surrounded by white classmates. My first job out of college was with a major rental car corporation, run by white males, and surrounded by mostly white male colleagues. Think about that for a moment. Really think about that. This is also because whites make up 77% of the U.S. population. That’s a lot of white people! (laughing) But I think you can see how there might be a tendency, based on that fact alone, to cater towards white Americans in media, in politics, in movies, in the news, in everything. You cater to the majority, right? Right! It’s just the way it is.
But, I don’t want the fact that we are 77% of the population in this country to affect our ability to think clearly, to be decent humans, to know the difference between right and wrong, to fight for equality, to give everyone a fair shot. We are all the same. We all deserve a fair chance. We all deserve to be treated with respect. Not all black people are violent and/or criminals. Not all black neighborhoods are terrible. Not all police officers profile blacks. This is an unbelievable country, founded by immigrants (yea we weren’t just born here, unless you are Native American, we came here on boats y’all), based on helping each other, celebrating successes, and our pledge of allegiance ends in “with liberty and justice for all.” So, if you immediately snap back with “ALL LIVES MATTER” just take a moment, try and hear what someone is saying, try and think about your experiences versus theirs. You may just find you have a compassion and the will to learn a little more about a road unknown to you.