I don’t know what to say. I, a white 20-something who has spent his whole life living comfortably without a care in the world, cannot speak as to how Black men and women have lived their lives in fear of a corrupt system that targets and tears down individuals simply because their skin is darker than others.
This isn’t about me; this really has nothing to do with me. George Floyd was murdered in cold blood, and Jacob Blake would have shared the same fate if the officer who fired seven shots into his back had achieved his goal. Countless men and women, Black men and women, have been killed by police officers in the past few years—and beyond—to the point where Black men and women are forced to wonder if they’re next. It’s sick and tiring, and the fact that they’re having to deal with this needs to be sick and tiring to all white people, too.
Until white people care as much about the racial injustice and police brutality in this country, nothing is going to change. We, as white people, must acknowledge the privilege that we have possessed since the day we were born. Our white skin does not mean we are exempt from struggle or hardship, but it does mean that when we are pulled over by police, we do not need to fear for our lives. Our lives are not harder than should be because of the color of our skin.
With that privilege comes a platform to create change. It starts with your friends and families, holding honest discussion and asking hard questions. Having those conversations might not be easy, but imagine if you had to live your life always looking over your shoulder, fearing for your life.
There are many things that people can disagree over. A healthy disagreement can even lead to productive discourse, but if there is one thing that we cannot tolerate, it’s disagreements over human rights. There is absolutely zero room to disagree over the rights, freedoms and lives of Black people.
Ultimately, it falls to the younger generations—the Millenials and the Gen Zs—to enact the change that we hope to see in the world. It falls on our shoulders, all of us, to be the change we hope to see in the world.
I hate to even bring up politics because this is not political. This is about the lives of Black men and women—sometimes even children—that have been forever silenced. However, our voices will make the greatest impact at the polls, at protests—in which we all stand together—and in our communities. So, use your voice, go out and vote and make yourself heard.
We are not born with hate in our hearts. It is a learned behavior that still, unfortunately, rears its ugly head too often in our society. Racism is alive and well in the United States, and that too is a learned behavior. I cannot speak as to how to feel when dealing with racism or racial profiling or police brutality, and it’s not my place to presume I should tell anyone how to feel, but I will fight against the evils and horrors that racism has inflicted upon Black people in this country.
Many people, perpetuated by the national government all too often, have set this country back by emboldening the racist masses with hateful and racist rhetoric and another four years will do immeasurable damage. We need a President who stands up for Black lives. We need change. All lives cannot and will not matter until Black lives do.
We are often told to “not see color” but that’s not it. We are all different, we grow up in different places and experience different things, and that’s OK. What should make America a great place, should because we are most definitely not, is how we celebrate our differences and respect and honor those differences.
Black Lives Matter. I hear you. I see you. And while I might not know how or what you’re feeling, I stand with you.