I don’t know what to say, but silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
The community is already filled with voices more relevant than mine, but silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
There is much miscommunication when it comes to words and I must act, but also, silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
My heart is full of anguish, guilt, justice, good intentions, bad intentions, and a plethora of questions, but from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks and silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
There are many things I believe in my heart that are radical to speak out loud, that go against what my friends and family think, that feel risky to say, but silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
There are other voices who I wish to hear rise above my own, beautiful melanin rich voices, and I am afraid of taking up their space, of drowning them out, but my silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children and silence, in this case, is harmful.
Dear reader, I don’t know what you are carrying with you today, but I do know that if you are living in the United States, you have grown up indoctrinated with systemic racism, and that it permeates our lives in ways you and I cannot even fathom. If you are white, you may have felt guilty for being so, or defensive, or confused about why George Floyd and all its surrounding issues have become an international topic.
Do not let anything throw you out of the conversation. Silence will not make a better future for your children, for mine, or for George Floyd’s daughter.
Do not let yourself make excuses that exempt you from the conversation. You are not too busy. This is important enough. You have not learned everything you need to learn. You have not unlearned everything you need to unlearn. This is a lifelong journey. An excuse to walk away from the conversation is privilege, which begets white solidarity, which begets more silence. Silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
The only time we should stay silent is when we are listening to our brothers and sisters of color, and we should be silent only because we are taking in what they say and believing them. We should only be silent when we, as white people, are processing uncomfortable truths we just discovered and need to think before putting our foots in our mouths.
We might make mistakes when we speak or try to act. But silence will not make a better future for anyone’s children.
Talk to your family and friends. Actively seek out and dismantle white solidarity where it exists in your friendships and relationships. Find a friend or two who will hold you accountable to stay in the conversation.
Contact me if you want me to be that friend.
And finally, read Robin Di’Angelo’s book White Fragility. It has been instrumental in changing my life and starting me on a lifelong path of dismantling my own imbedded racism. It is the perfect book for right now. So much so that the libraries in my cities, Minneapolis and St Paul, have made it free for unlimited borrows for anyone to read after the requests soared into the thousands.
White Fragility is a tough read. It is worth it. It is worth re-reading now if you have read it before. It is a start.
Thank you for reading.