Updated: Dec 7, 2020
We don’t know exactly how or where to start this so we’re just going to dive right in.
We are feeling the weight in the world, right now, but in the same breath: please know we understand this isn’t about us at all. One of these weights, for us, and one we actually have control over is realizing there are so many ways we may have unintentionally and/or unknowingly contributed to the weight that so many have been carrying for all of this time. If you feel heavy this week, can you imagine the burden our black friends have born?
We feel disgusted at the number of people that are belittling the huge discrepancy in basic human rights that exists for our brothers and sisters of color. People are being murdered. How is this not of concern to you? When is the last time the white skin you’re in threatened your life? Please take a moment to truly pause and reflect on why it is you feel the need to downplay the lives lost but speak out about property damage at a major retailer. (Also keep in mind, said retailer put out a statement that clearly stated they are more concerned with the lives lost than the damage to their stores. So think hard.)
We feel sad that the several police officers that we happen to know personally may be viewed or treated like the bad ones cycling through the news. Again, we know with absolution this is not the issue at hand; it does just make our hearts ache for the police out there doing good work.
Mostly, we feel we have SO much work to do.
Our white privilege not only suggests but DEMANDS that we be a part of the battle for true equality. We created this problem. It is our responsibility to fix it. It is time to start carrying this weight.
We are doing a lot of listening, reading, and reflecting lately. One thing we came across has been ringing in our heads and hearts at a deafening decibel: “It is not enough to ‘not be racist’. You must be ANTI racist.” Please read that again:
“It is NOT ENOUGH to ‘not be racist’. You must be ANTI racist.”
Many of us do not know the right thing to say. We don’t know the right thing to do. We ask to be an ally but are nothing more than keyboard warriors. The inspirational quotes are nice but what are we DOING? What are we changing?
We understand that showing up imperfectly is better than not showing up at all. We understand that standing up and speaking out will allow us the opportunity to have hard conversations with our friends, family members, and acquaintances. This is a fractional way we can reallocate a portion of the weight from the black community. Let’s stop expecting them to initiate and maintain these dialogues.
As stated, we are here imperfectly. But here is what we think we know or have gathered:
1. It is inappropriate to ask the black community to tell us what to do and how to fix this. They are busy carrying their own weight. They don’t have the space to tell us how to carry our load too. We started this. It is our responsibility to end it.
2. A lot of us tend to err on the side of caution, when it comes to topics that seem “controversial”. We recognize this as part of our privilege. We understand, now, that keeping our opinions holstered makes us seem complicit and we will not stand by and allow ourselves to be lumped in with oppressors. Hear us: We will NOT fall silent while lives fall quiet.
3. Cycling photos of George Floyd (or any of the countless others) pinned to the ground struggling for his life is inhumane. It is triggering. Stop using photos of a man that make other men (and women) remember how quickly that could be THEM. This is the world we live in and, in case you aren’t up to date on things, is *kind of* the issue. It is cruel. Find other images to circulate.
4. Teaching “color blindness” is a cop out. Pretending not to see color discredits the imbalance that so clearly exists and we can’t fix things we are pretending not to see. Teach what is happening. Teach the people in your home to stand up to racism. Teach them to stand up for people who are persecuted or being treated poorly.
5. Don’t be a performative ally. Don’t talk the talk without walking the walk. Don’t get quiet or stop acting after it no longer seems “popular”. Continue doing the work.
6. Above all, it is time to stand.
Let’s stop being afraid of saying the wrong thing and say SOMEthing. Let's educate ourselves so that we can educate our children and bring them up to be kind, accepting, open-minded moral humans. Let’s put our money where our mouths are and do SOMEthing. This isn’t a fad. This isn’t something that just popped up overnight and is going to eventually fade away on its own. Please, don’t discredit the struggle of entire races of people (for centuries) with that narrow minded thinking.
So what can you do? How can you be an ally? We aren’t experts (far from it) but we know every little bit helps. Please visit our Instagram page and view our ongoing highlighted stories for a multitude of ways to help keep this momentum going.
It is time to do the work.
If you are looking for helpful websites, here are a few that we've compiled that have quite a few different resources for how to help or different ways to think about things:
And on a slightly different note, Black Pearl Books is a local (Austin, TX) minority, woman-owned bookstore if you are looking for books to diversify your or your child's bookshelf (and mind).