Dear White America

Dear White America –

Sit down and listen for a minute before you use that entitled, privileged, holier-than-thou voice of yours.  

Truth be told, everyone knows you have an opinion, they already know what it is (Karen), and frankly, no one asked you to give it. Not on social media. Not on the news. Not even in church. 

I’m embarrassed of my whiteness, if I’m honest. And your tonedeaf words are making me turn an even deeper shade of red. So please. Just be quiet. 

Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

Job 2:13 (NLT)

Dear White America – 

You are being asked to listen. Listen to the outcries of those long oppressed. To those who have been shamed for peaceful protest and are now asking to be heard in their outrage. 

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

Proverbs 10:19

Dear White America – 

You were once enraged to violence as well, when a privileged, calloused king denied your rights to live freely in peace. You started a revolution. You fought. You killed. You stood up for the right to breathe. You are now being asked to lay aside your hypocrisy and listen. So listen up. 

Listen without reply, except that of compassion and justice. Listen without argument, blame, or whaddabout-ism. 

We (white people) are not forced to live in subhuman conditions. We are privileged, though we rarely feel it. Privilege is blinded by ignorance. That you can pass a policeman on the road or sidewalk without a panic attack is privilege. 

That you don’t have to teach your children how to be overly, extra, abundantly compliant, cautious, and non-threatening because one day when they are 12 or 17 or 24 or 44 they will not be assumed as a threat and cut down just because of the color of their skin, is privilege.

That you and your children will not be followed around in a store by a clerk or a guard who assumes you will steal something is a privilege. 

That you most likely own a house which you qualified to borrow money for by your whiteness, and can bequeath it to your children is a privilege. 

That you live in a place, went to school, and probably hold a job based on your merit and people never assume that you got it because of “affirmative action” is a privilege. 

That you can purchase and carry a gun as a right, even protesting with it in front of a capital building without being killed on sight for “being a threat” is a privilege.

That you can earn a fair wage and not wonder if it is being offered as less than others because of the color of your skin is privilege. 

That you can post whatever you want without being accused of “whining about slavery that happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with us” is a privilege. 

That you can forget about all of this turmoil next week because looking in the mirror won’t remind you of the horror is a privilege. 

That you can live without a daily, lifelong feeling of powerlessness is a privilege. 

“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

– MLK Jr

Dear White America – 

You have the potential to make this 1000 times worse by saying “I get it, but …” Whatever you do, do NOT complete that sentence. You do not get it. And there is no but. For once, your voice is the one that needs to be silenced. 

You’ve turned the other way as if this is not only acceptable, but normal. 

And worse, you’ve defended the actions of the oppressors, saying, “maybe they deserved it” or “the cop thought his life was in danger” when everyone can see from the video it was not. 

Yes, you can agree that this is wrong now, but realize that this is not new. It’s just now being filmed, as Mr. Smith said. And your sadness now, after your recent defensiveness and “all lives matter” posts, is falling on deaf ears. It’s too little. It’s too late. And it’s too disingenuous. 

For once. Please, just listen. 

Listen to the mamas who have lost their babies. Listen to the outrage at injustice. Listen to the anger, yes even the rage about having to live a life of powerlessness and fear. Listen to the grief without adding your two cents. Listen to the pain long enough to acknowledge that it matters. 

If and when you do speak again in the future, let it be with the voice of an ally. With the voice of someone who has sat in the ashes with the broken and now understands the pain. It’s clear that we still don’t get it, and that we need more understanding before we speak up.

Dear White America. Until then, Just listen. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

    ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

    and see that they get justice.

– Proverbs 31:8-9