I am struggling with the current state of gun violence in the United States, as well as the inherent racism that flows through our cities, even into Canada. Watching the videos of innocent black men being gunned down by white police officers has become a norm within our society and we need to stop desensitizing ourselves to it. Watching the videos of Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s murders terrifying, watching those two men murdered brought tears to my eyes. We should feel the pain of those suffering around us and not take this as the status quo.
As a White Female, these situations make me feel helpless. Because our society has taught us inherently that we should not get involved and avoid the topics of race and violence, as if they are just some passing phase. I worry about speaking out on social media or taking a stand to show my support because I don’t know how others will react.
Not just my friends and family, but also the fellow human beings I am attempting to support.
This fear of being told that my voice doesn’t matter and that I should know my place is with being a woman.
I by no means think that my suffering for being a white woman compares to anyone, especially not minorities within our society. White privilege is real, and I am aware of it based on the experiences of those around me, and the ease at which I pass through life.
If we want our society to get better we all have to stand together. Which is why when someone says All Lives Matter, they are clearly missing the point, and they are most like a middle class white person. Of course all human lives matter, but if the situations were reversed and it was black police officers killing innocent white men, then obviously there is something wrong with those police officers. How did they even get on the force? etc etc. But why is that not the case when and innocent black man is killed by a white police officer? Our automatic assumption (based on our institutionalized racism) is that the man was obviously threatening the police officer or doing something completely wrong.
The color of our skin shouldn’t dictate whether or not we have a right to have a voice.
We should be standing up together to protect other innocent lives.
It almost seems like all of the “progress” that we claim has been made, is all just a lie to make us white people able to live with ourselves and what our ancestors did. Many people may argue that this comes from a place of White guilt, that I’m probably some suburban middle class white girl who has never experienced hardship. And that’s fine if you think that, but you don’t know me, yet you judge me. Just like you quickly judge all the innocent people who have been murdered at the hands of police brutality.
I grew up in a predominantly low income housing complex. Someone was murdered in broad day light across the street from my house. The tactical unit came to arrest a drug dealer in my neighbourhood. I’ve answered the door to police officers more than once. This shaped me into the person I am today. I went to school to be a teacher, who helps immigrants and visible minorities learn English to become hard working meaningful members in our society. My whole goal in life is to do as much good as possible while I’m here.
And that means not standing by and pretending that Black Lives, and subsequently Black Lives Matter, is not our problem simply because we’re not in the minority.
Face it: Black Lives Matter should matter to ALL of us.