A friend just posed a question on social media, asking for views on the Confederate flag. As a foreigner but long-time US resident I view the flag as completely abhorrent; mostly because when a group of people consistently tell me that their blood has been shed both historically and in the present in the name of that flag, I believe them.
It actually doesn’t matter if some don’t think it’s a racist symbol and that it’s part of their history, when a significant group of people feel their very lives threatened by what it represents. What it has BECOME completely trumps what some perceive it to have been in the past.
The flag doesn’t take away the core reasons behind the horrific shootings in Charleston last week. Racism. The word makes white people uncomfortable. “Not I” we say. However, just like the flag, it actually doesn’t matter if we don’t think we are racist, or that the past is the past, when a significant group of people feel their very lives are under attack. It’s time we believe what our brothers and sisters of color of telling us.
I beg you to check out this Systemic Guide to Racism. Rewind a few times at min. 2.21, pay attention to the practice of “red lining” and stop telling me African American communities don’t want to work, are criminally minded and ‘do this to themselves.’ No really. Right now, and watch it twice!
Friends, we’ve got to get out of our echo chambers. We’ve got to listen to the keen of agony and pain that is tearing at the fabric of African American communities and white people have. to. get. involved. HAVE TO.
Here are some places to start from women I love, trust and deeply admire. There are MANY more.
- On Charleston, forgiveness and black pain. ~ Luvvie Ajayi
- On having a conversation, a simple place to start. ~ Gabrielle Blair
- Talking (or not) about racism from the pulpit. ~ Kelly Wickham
- A white person’s take on ‘otherness’ and how it’s made her think about racism. ~ Allison Czarnecki
- Getting to the nitty gritty of how to tackle racism. ~ Kelly Wickham
In the meantime, we can’t all attend the viewings and funerals of those murdered in Charleston. However we can pay our respects virtually, as thousands did in person at the South Carolina state house for Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
P.S. When people say “black lives matter”, remember the rest of the sentence. What that phrase means is black lives matter just as much as white ones. When you say “but all lives matter” you are demonstrating you are not listening. No one is saying for one minute that all lives don’t matter. People of color just want to ensure that their lives matter as much as yours and mine. I for one, am damn sure they do.
I am a communicator, an agitator and a mother. Subscribe via email. Or follow on Twitter or Facebook. What will you do today to wake up the world? Share your thoughts, your action and your heart here.