Dear White People

Can we talk?

Can we truly talk about the elephant in the room that you never want to talk about?

Race.

Let’s talk about race.

I’m black.

I’m a woman.

Two indisputable facts that you may have noticed.

I’m a mother.

To a son.

He’s the light of my life.

He’s my Munch.

He’s also black.

Why do I keep mentioning color? Because I need you to see and acknowledge the rich hues in my skin tone. I need you to see my melanin and know that I am black. Can you see the warm coffee colored hues of my skin tone just radiating? Yes?

Good.

Let’s talk.

I’m black. A beautiful black woman who shares a rich history in this country. My ancestors were kings and queens, slaves and sharecroppers. I know this. Many of you know this. But, I need you to stop acting like I’m supposed to forget this country’s history.

I can’t.

Even when the school textbooks gloss over slavery, I have to fill in the gaps and remind my son. Our lives and history didn’t begin and end with slavery. This country where the soil is rich with the blood from your ancestors is a great one.

Now, that you know that I’m black and I love this country can we talk about race? Can we talk about why it is important that we talk about it? Can we talk about the fact that nothing will change unless you stop saying you don’t see color and recognize my beautiful skin tone?

See, if you see my differences that will allow you to see my issues. To understand why some people look at me funny when I accompany you to your small town. Why if you invite me to your bridal shower and baby shower your family and friends are wondering how I got an invite. Because I’m the only black there.

I’m comfortable in my skin and in our relationship to not be offended. Why? Because I know that you love and respect me. Just like I love and respect you. We are friends. We do play dates and mommy dates. We engage.

That’s what most black folks want. People to engage. People to understand that there are some differences that you will never have to teach your children. I don’t want you to think I’m blaming you for that. No, I want you to be mad at the fact that your son can’t give my son a toy gun. Mad at the fact that when our children are playing together in your neighborhood that people think my son was adopted.

Why? Because he’s out of place? He doesn’t belong there. I want you to see the underlining comments that are made by some of your friends and classmates when they get drunk and call me out my name…

Nigger, Black Bitch.

Umm, why do you need to put my color in it? If you’re going to call me a bitch why not just a bitch? Why do you have to say black bitch?

I need you to get mad when you think about the countless black boys and girls that are murdered in cold blood by people acting like the victims were a threat. Why is it only in this country you can kill somebody in cold blood and then have the audacity to call the victim a thug? But, Ryan Lochte though?

Umm, I digress.

Listen white people. We, black folks love you and respect you. We just want the same. Not just for the one black family you befriended but for all those that look differently than you. Recognize our differences, respect them and stand up to the BS that you witness.

Can you do that? Can you work with me and not against me? Maybe, just maybe if we do it…we can make America great again. Together.

Advertisements

176 thoughts on “Dear White People

  1. I’m so on board with you, and I don’t even live in the USA, but this needs to be a global discussion. Have just published a blog post about reading ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’. I’m so sorry I didn’t know more sooner. I’m on board now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm…I’m a white girl with many black friends. Your words here are making me think hard about my thoughts, actions, and reactions – in these relationships, in murders, in all things. I long so much for us all, every color, every race, every faith, to live in harmony together. I agree that we need to recognize each others’ differences, not pretend they are not there. I will keep thinking. Thank you for your boldness in your words here, I appreciate them, and that they are making me search my heart. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great thought-provoking blog.
    I have been fighting hard to not be racist or ist against anyone that is “different.” I picked up at a very young age that there was something different about Jews. The only time she would whisper when talking about her Jewish friends. I was indoctrinated to think those stereotypical “traits” that “they” all had. Growing up in the sixties and saved me from adopting her sentiments and ignorance. When I got old enough, I called her on it. I learned what a crock of shit the phrase, “But I have friends who are Jewish.” If you can’t say the things you say about them behind their backs, you are not a friend.
    I grew up in a almost exclusive white community and never had any opportunity to meet people of color. I would be lying if my brain didn’t think negative and stereotypical thoughts, but I have learned that I don’t have to believe everything I think and I can think twice. As I got older and left for the real world, I have been able to erase the old tapes in my head and come up with new ones as I experience getting to know a wide variety of people. I believe that if people have to be described, like for the police, if color is used it should go both ways. Caucasion man or Black man. Maybe this would eliminate one being the other. Just a thought. Other than that, the color of one’s skin need not be a part of discussion. It isn’t going to happen in my life time, but I long for a world where everyone is equal. Men. Women. Colors. Religions. Etc. My favorite part in MLK’s I have a dream is the request to judge people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. BETH

    It is time for us to talk–actually talk! It’s time for people to stop licking imaginary wounds and feeling sorry for themselves and get to work making our nation great again. We must work side by side to do what has to be done. When the people are better, the nation will be better.

    My father happened to be a landowner, but did he require black people to harvest his fields or to cultivate his crops? No. He put his wife, four children, and a neighbor or two who could spare the time in his fields season after season. If black people had asked to work, he would have hired them just like he did his neighbors and family.

    I was one of the four siblings–the only girl in the family, but I worked right along with the boys chopping weeds in the spring and cotton in the summer to be sure overgrowth did not choke the healthy stalks. In the fall I drug a cotton sack behind me to gather the prickly bolls and weigh my take to see how much I earned. If I managed to make enough, my parents and brothers got presents–things they needed, but not frivolous, useless things.

    Who planted the fields in the first place? My daddy did. He used to get up before daybreak to plow and plant, then he would come in to eat his breakfast and go to his job in the town. As soon as he was finished staking terraces or surveing land damns for the Soil Conservation Service (now known as Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), he came back to the field and worked until it was too dark to see where he was plowing.

    Why? My daddy believed in the Agrarian work ethic. The field was his life and he wanted to make sure we all loved the field too. When it came time to go to college, he let us work our way through so we would truly appreciate what we had earned.

    Believe me! It isn’t just white people who are prejudiced against those of a different color. Ask my children. We adopted a Chipawah daughter and learned the hard way that Native Americans feel the discrimination at school as much as anyone. We also adopted an Asian son who worried about how outsiders viewed him. I was Texan, but I married a man from Canada whose mother was Russian and whose father was Danish. Once when we came back to visit family, the immigration agent took a look at our various passports and asked, “Do you all live in the same house?”

    It is time we put away our preconceived notions about color or the shape of the eyes and look at people’s minds, hearts and souls. Sometimes kids were too immature to understand the concept, but we are not only kings, but also priests (Rev. 1:6 and Rev. 5:10). Every one of us can be royalty if we choose that pathway.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post. Black is beautiful. 🙂 My son has three best friends – one is from Kenia, one from the Netherlands, one is from South Korea and one from Slovenia. These are the true blessings in an international school: your kids learn to celebrate their diverse backgrounds, embrace them. My son loves to stroke his friend’s black short hair. He says lovingly “it feels like a carpet” 😉 I once tried to explain the meaning of racism to him. He looked at me, his eyes said: “Can people really be so stupid?” Yes my dear, they can. But we can change it. If we stick to our friends and let no-one ever hurt them. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Yes the race thing never seems to stop That slogan “making America great again- well I have to see it to believe it and what exactly are his plans? To demean or raise esteem of people of color? I could go on an on. I’m afraid we are in a for a rough ride with then new guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Powerful post. No one deserves to be labeled based on the colour of their skin. Name-calling is one thing, but as you mentioned, outright calling someone “black” or in my case as a Chinese person “chink”, it is completely unnecessary. Not only do we all want to engage, we also want to participate and help make this world a better place not just for ourselves but everyone around us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely relevant thoughts – I’m not American but I get it that America can’t be ‘great’ until the ‘race’ problem isn’t there … (“race” because a long while back academic physical anthropologists said there is no such thing as race- which means it is an idea not a reality … an idea to be got over … sadly our differences make people afraid – any difference, colour, disability, religion …people need to face up to difference, celebrate and not fear it).)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, Thomas, for mentioning the elephant in the room. Yes, I am also a Black woman. I raised 4 Black children, but my experience has been a little different because we have a very inter-racial family. My family was largely a military family and some married women from other countries and they were embraced in our family. I am grateful for that experience because when I chose to home school my children and we found ourselves in a community of predominantly white people and a few people of other races, there was an additional lesson to be learned apart from the academics. Living in a predominantly white community has been an education of a different sort. Finally when working on a project for a fund raising effort a white woman kept staring at me like I had food on my face or something, so after pondering the situation I looked at her with a smile and said,”You don’t have to be concerned that I am a Black woman, I have been this way all my life and it is not a problem for me.” The woman looked at me for a moment to try to figure out if I was angry or not and finally after her time of consideration she began to chuckle because I never lost the smile on my face. Then all the other women in the room began to laugh and the issue was resolved. We are all children of the same loving Creator which makes us all sisters and brothers together. Let us begin to behave like we are a loving family. It is a miracle in the making.
    Namaste

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, sis. That is what we are and love will stamp out hatred so we just need to stand together and fight the evil. We can’t change the color of our skin our or gender, but we can all choose to live as one.

      Like

  10. I see you, I hear you. There is hatred and bias and bigotry, the election of our new president is proof as if we need any. Don’t toss us all into the basket of deplorable s. I love my black friends, they love me too, but they won’t drop that wall that says we are different. We have a bigot in the white house, we need to stick together and say we will not have it. There are thousands of women around the world marching today for rights of women, that means all women and we can’t let these racist and misogynists that would separate us, pit us against one another forget that we are in this together and together we are a mighty force.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. In your post I hear a request to others. What a difference it would make if we could seek to understand someone else’s experience. If we listened and believed that others are still being treated differently, unjustly. I want to understand and I stand with you.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Powerful…Thank you for sharing. I am a white (older) woman with two grown sons. I like to think that I can relate to anyone because we have similar experiences of growing up, parenting, working, and leaving our mark on our corner of the world. However, as you pointed out, I don’t experience the long-lasting effects of slavery in my family nor the racial slurs that can oh-so-easily roll off people’s tongues. The divisiveness in this country (whether it be race, the 1% vs. the 99 %, Democrats vs. Republicans, and so on) is distressing to me. May we all speak up for unity while recognizing our beautiful diversity!

    Like

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding. Your comment got caught up in my spam. I absolutely hope and pray that we can all be united. These are perilous times and whether you are Democrat or Republican can we all just realize that we have problems? What can we do to fix them? United we stand or divided we fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. As a nurse I dealt with hundreds of people of all colors and nationalities. I kept in touch with several after I retired. Ms Mamie was a dear patient and friend who I had seen for years. I went to her funeral along with her another home health nurse. The room was crowded, but she and I were the only white faces there. I never met any of her family in all the years I visited her. No one talked to us, but they kept looking at us. Finally, one of her granddaughters spoke to us after the service was over. Years ago one of my co-workers shared with me “rules” they were taught. Never look a white person in the eyes was the one that amazed me. I’d never heard that, and told her so. How can you talk to someone without looking them in the eyes? Back when I was a new nurse, I worked with two aides who I’ve always believed they helped me to be a better nurse. Once I took my baby with me to get my paycheck. They asked if they could hold him and I handed him over. They cooed over him and he giggled. I don’t remember which one of them made the comment, but she thanked me for letting her hold my baby adding that most white folk wouldn’t have since they were afraid it would make the baby black. God loves us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for sharing your story in such a direct, nonjudgmental way.

    Believe it or not, it’s difficult being white on this issue, too. I try to treat people as people. You are an infinitely precious creation (within the framework of my religious beliefs), and you deserve to be treated as such.

    But sometimes I get afraid. What if I say something that’s inadvertently offensive and you won’t take my apology? This has happened before in person, but if it happens online, it lives forever.

    I used to write short stories with PoC protagonists, since I believed that whitewashing (the default standard being white) could be demoralizing. But then I read a bunch of stuff about how if you’re white, you can’t appreciate the unique difficulties minorities face. I’m afraid of getting it wrong and making the problem worse.

    I totally get the class inequity in the US, how it’s perpetuated everywhere from history books to unspoken expectations to school budgets. I wanted to light my own little literary candle to fight that, but now I’m not sure I’ll do more harm than good by trying.

    I realize you can’t speak for all blacks anymore than I can speak for all Caucasians, but do you have an opinion on this? Do you think it’s a good idea to have supporting characters in my novels and the occasional protagonist in a short story be PoC, just because, y’know, they’re part of the world and our literature should reflect that?

    Or should I back off and let someone who’s actually a member of minority do this?

    Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. The truth of the matter is that you can’t ask questions in an offensive way with someone you’re not friends with for example I have friends of all different races and my white friends can ask me anything why because we love each other and there’s respect there and I know they’re asking out of curiosity and it’s never to be offensive to someone but you have to be friends with a minority to really feel comfortable asking them so if you have no minority friends it is kind of hard to add something to a total stranger

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Excuse my last comment. I did talk to text and didn’t get a chance to edit before sending it. I wasn’t finished talking or editing. Race is not a problem if you’re friends with people or even if you’re not and you’re asking in a non-offensive way. I’m open to having race conversations especially if I know who you are as a person but even if I don’t if you asked a question out of curiosity I would be open to it because I think you would just not know.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Dang it! I did it again so please forgive this long response, but you can absolutely write characters that are people of color. I do not believe there’s anything wrong with that. As long as your characters aren’t offensive or based on stereotypes. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. I actually encourage you to do so. It allows people of color to see themselves in your books. Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  15. No, I avoid stereotypes. I don’t like them applied to me, either.

    Thanks for encouraging me to add people of color to my stories. Mostly, I do it in a Harry Potter sort of way–various ethnic groups are portrayed, but just in passing. Ex: The Asian guy next to her looked up and asked… But now and again, I add in a little bit, mostly things I’ve overheard people say that are offensive. Things that I wouldn’t want to overhear people say about me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then, please feel free to add people of color and specifically black people to your books. I think the best part about reading books is that you can see pieces of yourself in the characters. Whether black or white we want to relate. Good luck on your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. that’s a great piece and many others thought so as well. As it happens I do agree that for some reason people try to re write history and it’s not just in America. Germany and the Jews . Japan and South Africa from where I have just returned. In fact as it happens I wrote a piece on South Africa about the inequalities. About how black people smile and laugh and put up with shit and inadequate education, housing and jobs. Why is That? why do white people still live in big houses and black people clean them for pennies. So as I had ranted on about it I was fascinated to read your Blog. I am going to read more. Thank you. Question….could a white person have written the same thing?

    Like

    1. I just read that piece. Thank you for commenting and following. It’s sad that it happens all over the world. It’s not right. I think if we don’t acknowledge it and learn from it we’re bound to repeat it. I’m following you too. Yes, a white person could have definitely written the same thing. I think there are a lot of white people speaking out for people of color all over the world and it is encouraging to know that we’re not alone and people are staying woke to the inequalities and injustices that are occurring. United we stand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with your sentiment. I really love your Blog. Its human; interesting and amusing and written with a wry sense of humour. I shall follow you now with pleasure. I really enjoy reading what you wrote. Its difficult white people writing from a black perspective without seeming patronising. I hope I didn’t come across like that. Lets keep in touch…

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s