Dear White People: Stay In Your Lane

I posted this gem a year ago, and periodically re-post it as a little reminder and handy travel guide to avoid head-on collisions:

If you’re a white person, and the Black Lives Matter movement has become all about YOU, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and become defensive when a person of color checks you on your viewpoint about Black issues, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who professes to know all about racism, rather than white privilege, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who only speaks up about Black lives whenever it’s convenient for you, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who talks a good talk, but doesn’t walk the walk, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who claims to know more about being Black than Black people themselves, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who discounts the feelings of people of color whenever they express concerns about your behavior and actions, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and seeking validation and a trophy from people of color because you’re willing to speak out against social injustice, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and think that you know everything there is to know about racism and discrimination against people of color, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and are so focused on advancing your own agenda that you discount or forget what the BLM movement even stands for, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person who thinks that having a Black person in your inner circle qualifies you to fully understand and speak on the depth of the Black experience, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and you’re now feeling pissed after reading this post, you’re in the wrong lane.

If you’re a white person and choose to unfriend or block me after stewing in your own juices, you’re in the wrong lane.

Before you ever profess to be an ally for Black lives or any person of color, know your lane… and stay in it.

 

[excerpted from Why Black Lives Matter (Too): A Revolutionary Call to Action]

Racism: A White Male Perspective

The author of this piece is Scott Woods (a white male), although I do not know him. I’m sharing his words here, because they’re resonating deeply with me tonight. I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you.

“Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”

We Are Still Here

WE ARE STILL HERE
by Mary A. Canty Merrill, PhD

(excerpted from my anthology: Why Black Lives Matter (Too): A Revolutionary Call to Action)

Black people have been through many traumatic experiences. Our hearts have been cut deeply. Our minds have been twisted. Our bodies have been abused. Yet, despite all that we have been through, and though we may be weary at times, we are still here.

We were kidnapped from our native land—Mother Africa, yet we are still here.

We were shackled in chains, and crammed into the bowels of ships headed for the New World, yet we are still here.

We were forced to sail for weeks, months—and sometimes a year—amid inhumane and diseased conditions, yet we are still here.

We were torn from our families and loved ones, yet we are still here.

We were sold into slavery as property, yet we are still here.

We were raped and sexually abused by slaveholders, yet we are still here.

We were hung and brutally whipped, yet we are still here.

We were branded and mutilated, yet we are still here.

We were hunted down like wild animals, yet we are still here.

We were imprisoned for minor infractions—or no infractions at all—without legal defense or recourse, yet we are still here.

We were spat on, tormented and insulted, yet we are still here.

We were forced into hard labor from sunup to sundown, yet we are still here.

We were devalued as human beings, yet we are still here.

We were used as prizes in lotteries, yet we are still here.

We were used as wagers in card games and horse races, yet we are still here.

We were allotted the bare minimum of food, yet we are still here.

We were given the cast-off clothing of whites, yet we are still here.

We were abused and exploited through medical experimentation, yet we are still here.

We were provided no care for our health, yet we are still here.

We were placed in situations that jeopardized our well-being, yet we are still here.

We were forbidden to buy or sell goods without a permit, yet we are still here.

We were forbidden to own livestock, yet we are still here.

We were subject to nightly curfews, yet we are still here.

We were forced to live in meager shelter with leaky roofs, thin walls and dirt floors, yet we are still here.

We were forbidden to read and write, yet we are still here.

We were forbidden to marry outside of our race, and sometimes forbidden to marry at all, yet we are still here.

We were coerced into nursing white babies, yet we are still here.

We were treated harshly by cruel overseers and made an example to others, yet we are still here.

We were stripped of our freedom, yet we are still here.

We were in physical bondage for 300 years, yet we are still here.

We were subjected to a hard, miserable life that is now difficult to imagine, yet we are still here.

We possessed nothing except our dignity, yet we are still here.

We were forced into segregation, yet we are still here.

We were bitten by vicious dogs, attacked with tear gas and sprayed with fire hoses, yet we are still here.

We were searched at any time and for any reason, yet we are still here.

We were sharecroppers who were cheated and denied land ownership, yet we are still here.

We were robbed of our heritage, history and resources, yet we are still here.

We were denied our constitutional rights, yet we are still here.

We are subject to racial profiling, yet we are still here.

We have been forced into mass incarceration, yet we are still here.

We are still considered an inferior race, yet we are still here.

We have endured modern day genocide, yet we are still here.

We built this country called America with our blood, sweat, and tears, yet we are still here.

We have endured hundreds of years of racism, discrimination and oppression, yet despite everything that we have been through, we are still here.

WE ARE A STRONG, RESILIENT AND NOBLE PEOPLE… AND WE ARE STILL HERE!