This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Sadly, it likely won’t be the last.
Watching the video was painful for all of us. But our feelings are nothing compared to those who’ve faced a lifetime of suppression, discrimination and having to fear for their lives every day. We’ve never worried that our sons won’t be given a fair shot in life, let alone be shot because of the color of their skin. Heck, we get upset when people give our son a hard time when he’s on his skateboard! Can anyone of us even begin to truly understand what it’s like to be black when we begin and live our lives in a position of privilege?
Privilege based solely on the color of our skin. White? You may not even see it, but through nothing you’ve done, or decision you’ve made, you began your life with a head start and it keeps being provided to you day after day. Opportunity. Stability. Safety. Access. Expectations of success.
Saw this stat this morning: Only 1% of Venture Capital backed startups are headed by black founders. Look no further if you need proof of the privilege the color of your skin brings to your life.
In truth, we’ve been too uninformed. We haven’t listened like we should have. We haven’t spoken up.
In just the past couple of days, we’ve heard people we know respond with “all lives matter” when discussing Black Lives Matter. We don’t want to judge harshly, because in truth, we’ve likely said the same thing at some point. But seriously? The point isn’t that all lives don’t matter. But, when you’re black the lives of you, your families, and ancestors have been threatened since the day life began. It’s a shout out to fight for equality, with the same rights and freedoms as every other human.
Be honest with yourself for a moment. You’d have been out in the streets protesting and rioting this past week too if you faced racism that crushes you continually. No one wants to see looting and vandalism. But, how else can you get a government to actually hear you—and perhaps even do something about it? We would have been out there too.
Oh, and for all our Canadian friends who are reading this. Yes, we like to think we’re so much better and further ahead than our friends south of the border. In some areas, you might be right. But, when you check the stats you’ll see that systemic racism against black people is alive and well in Canada too. Shame on us too.
We’ve been too quiet. We’ve listened to people we know and love make racist statements. Oh, they seemed innocent enough at the time. But, they are evidence of the deeply rooted problem of systemic racism. And, we’ve sat quietly too often.
Let’s all speak up. Every time. Enough is enough.
Begin by saying their names:
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmad Arbery. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Jordan Baker.
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