I can accept an “I got to see it for myself to believe it” type of person when it comes to a lot of things, but I draw the line when it is about Black Lives Matter. ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED TO SEE? It is upsetting me and my homegirl ‘cause if you can’t see the discrimination that Black people HAVE to live with when it comes to education, housing, HEALTHCARE, hair, prison systems, representation, and culture appropriation, THEN WHERE THE HECK DO YOU NEED TO SEE IT?
With the murders of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, George Floyd, and so many many more, if you still question the hatred that is taught and walking among us, then you are not paying attention. As a Black person, it’s like walking around not being surprised that a wolf is dressed in sheep’s clothing. You truly never know where someone stands unless stuff hits the fan or when a “touchy” subject is brought up. I hate to say it, but I have become desensitized when it comes to someone coming out as either racist, a white supremacist, or someone that just doesn’t care.
With all the racism that has been happening the past 400+ years in America finally coming to the spotlight (and for the first time for some), I have been having a handful of conversations with people about race. Personally, I am done trying to pull the compassion, empathy, and just humanity out of people. I am also done coddling people when it comes to the topic of race.
No, all lives don’t matter because for decades Black lives have not mattered.
Let me make something crystal clear here. It’s 2020. I am not about to argue about why a human that belongs to a race outside of Black shouldn’t use ANY TYPE OR FORM OF THE N-WORD. Some may want to use it to feel included in the culture, but, sweetheart, not everything on this slowly dying earth is here for you to partake in. Because you are not Black, you were automatically opted out of using any form of that word. Also, me being uncomfortable with you saying it should be more than enough for you not to say it. Accept it and move on. Accept it as in don’t use that word, and move on as in don’t use that word.
To the people out there that have slid into my DMs wanting to be coached on how to be an ally: Knowledge is all around you. I know you are on your phone. I know you see the hashtags, the news articles, testimonies of people that have lived to tell the stories. You see the racism, you have watched the Netflix documentaries, listened to the podcasts, and so much more. Take what you have seen, analyze it, ask yourself how you contribute to it, and then actively do better to be anti-racist.
Black people had to learn about the founding fathers of the states and their own history. It’s the right thing to do the same for Black history because Black history IS American history. Do your research before going to your local friendly Black person for a lecture on how Black people have gotten the shortest end of the stick for generations. There are multiple books, documentaries, youtube videos, etc. that can help you with that research.
Check your privilege in your church, local coffee shops, restaurants, jobs, the shows you watch, your gym, and just do better. Look at your friend group. Is it diverse, and do you want it to be diverse? If it isn’t and you do, go find friends that don’t look like you. Befriend them any way you would your own group of friends. Treat them with respect, kindness, and love the same way you would treat the friends that look like you. Educate yourself on what is going on in the world before approaching them with a thousand questions. Don’t put it on the backs of minorities to introduce you to more people that don’t look like you. That also goes for the church. Most importantly, do not make them a token. That too goes for churches as well.
To my devil’s advocate nonsensical people in the back: Why are you quick to defend the oppressor versus the oppressed? How can you talk about holding on to the hope that they can change when I am hurting right now? At this moment, with so many hateful cards on the table, take those people at face value and let the test of time reveal if they can or can’t change. The fact that I have to pull empathy out of you for the side that is being hated on, my side, my people, is an issue all on its own.
People change because they want to change not solely because you believe in them to change. They have to make that decision for themselves. Right now, a lot of the people you believe in are on the wrong side, and the fact that you are choosing to defend them first is painful. Something is blinding you from seeing the whole truth. It could be your family members, your significant other, the church you are going to, etc. Whatever it is, I am not sticking around for you to see it. Mentally, physically, and spiritually, I can’t afford it. I am tired.
I have had good and bad conversations these past months about race. I have unfollowed some people on social media and in life as well. It is what it is. If we can’t have a conversation about “touchy” subjects such as race, we can’t be friends. If you can’t allow yourself to feel uncomfortable when I come to you with questions about you using the “N” word in the past or in the present, unclear comments you made in the past, or your view on race in general, we cannot be friends. If I have to beg you to empathize with the Black community and its daily struggles, we cannot be friends.
Being an ally is like being a friend. Show up, show out. Be loyal, respectful, ready to learn how to love the other friend how they want and need to be loved. Listen to their stories if they are willing to share. Don’t dismiss the reality they live in just because they don’t feel like sharing. Have empathy for them without them having to ask. Defend them behind their backs. Be a friend. If you want to be an ally, do it all the way.
One time, I was hanging out with my friend Chanel — yes, the one on the Dell commercial — and she said, “your white friends always be taking care of you,” and I laughed. It couldn’t be more true. To those few, thank you that I don’t have to question my safety or second guess where you stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. I know, I know I shouldn’t have to thank you because of common decency, but still. With the murders caught on tape, the riots, and everything in between, it was nice to know that when I took a break off social media, I knew that there was someone fighting for the cause. Shoutout to y’all for being that safe space that I could go when it gets heavy.
I know what it’s supposed to feel like when two different races come together, talk things through, and end things in a loving way. I will not settle for lukewarm allies. I will not allow for micro-aggressive comments to be said to me or around me without discussing it. I used to let things slide in middle school, high school, and my early years in college, but I will not anymore. I refuse to be used as a token, told I’m important, that I add value to a team, then pushed aside like nothing.
Lastly, to my non-black sisters and brothers, don’t refer to Black people as “blacks” or “colored brothers and sisters” ever, and especially when you are trying to comfort them about being on their side.
Black Lives Matter.
Until the next time,
Edited by Mary Onishi.