Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hey white people...its on us!

Last night I went on twitter when the Zimmerman verdict was least until I read the words of a father wondering WTH he was going to say to his black son. Then I started balling and the evening was basically over for me.

Surely every parent of a black child in this country has to grapple with teaching them some form of the Black Male Code. I remember the profound sense of what white privilege means hit me when one of my co-workers talked about how she had to make her son cut off his dreads when he was 13 so as not to make him a target. What mother of a white child has to think about those kinds of things? And what mother of a white child has to fear for their lives when they're walking home from the store?

It looks to me like no perfect calculation of the Black Male Code could have saved Trayvon. That's where we hit a brick wall. This is just no country for young black men. The randomness of these incidents is where the fear lurks.

What it all comes down to is that this is not a "black people's problem" - even as it is their children's lives at stake. Surely they will do everything they can to protect them. But the sad thing is that these kinds of things won't stop happening until white people get their shit together. That realization sent me back to something my friend Robinswing wrote years ago: We Can't Fix Ya!
The blackwoman has been thinking it might be time to seek out some solutions for eliminating racism. A more difficult project than I imagined.

I have come to one conclusion.

Race is a problem for white people to solve. If black people or brown people could have made racism go away it would have long since disappeared back into the nothing-ness from which it came.

Nah, it’s on white folks to make the necessary moves to kill and bury, once and for all, the notion of race.
Perhaps a good place to start is to listen to black people talk about what it means to be a parent these days.  And keep your g-d mouth shut when it comes to advice - even when what they have to say makes you uncomfortable. Right now they feel like their children's lives are at stake - with good reason. Can we find a touch of empathy to spur some curiosity about what that might feel like as a parent?

That's what its going to take, folks. As overwhelming as it might seem, every time a white person opens themselves up to that reality we get one step closer to ending days like this. If we're ever going to get there - its on us.


  1. Thank you----outstanding observation!!!

  2. And the fact is that racism is a physical threat to non-whites, and it is an ethical, moral, spiritual threat to whites.That doesn't make us bigger victims; it's not about us. But it does mean that we are harmed by it. self-harmed. It means that as we recognize and stand against racism we save ourselves too. Recognizing and standing against racism and white privilege means we don't have to spend the energy creating lies to justify ourselves.

  3. great post! Tweeting!


  4. "Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list." - Denis Leary

  5. Thank you for this. It is the elephant in the room.

  6. On point as usual, Smartypants!

  7. Great post, thank you for bringing this out. We will keep working.