What My Black Friends Want Me (and You) to Know About What's Happening Right Now
What do you want/need your white friends to know or understand?
This is your job. When we yell “BLM” and you yell “What about black on black crime?” You’re missing the point. White people need to tell their white friends to stop being racist. When white people are sitting around posting memes about equality, that doesn’t help. We need you to be actively anti-racist. If you really care, then this is your fight. Saying “I have black friends” or “I’m not racist” isn’t as powerful as saying “I’m going to the rally.”
I need them to listen. Listen to the experiences of black people. We’ve lived it. We’ve dealt with it. If you’re going to try to understand, then you have to listen first. Also please recognize that our experiences aren’t all the same; we’re all different. And don’t expect us to educate you. Do the work yourself. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries. Put yourself in a situation where you’re the only white person, go to a black church. Be willing to acknowledge that you’re ignorant and don’t have the answer but that you want to understand. A white friend isn’t going to get anywhere until they first and foremost acknowledge that white privilege exists – if you can’t admit that, you can’t admit that racism exists.
If you’re a friend of mine, I love you and care for you. You don’t need to do anything. It’s ok to ask questions, but please be open-minded about what’s going to come back. Please don’t try to justify things from your own lens, just try to be open to seeing it through mine. We’ve all experienced hardship, but when it comes to race relations, be open to what someone else has felt and lived that you haven’t. Keep treating me with respect, and we’re good.
Black people didn’t break this, so why do we have to fix it? You can sympathize, but you can’t relate, and that’s ok. If you’re my friend, I simply need you to be the best ally that you can be. Support this movement even when I’m not in the room. When you hear another white person say damning things about people of color, shut it down. Understand that you as my white friends have a set of privileges that you got simply because you were born white, and you can use that as a platform to help those who didn’t get it. Don’t close your mind to what we have to tell you, and trust that if I share with you an aspect of the struggle, I know what I’m talking about. Finally, you don’t have to do everything. If you can’t go to the protest, sign some petitions, that counts.