Dear Black People: I Believe You

I am a white girl. I mean that in every sense of the word. 

Yes, I am a Caucasian female. But I’m also a “white girl.” I grew up as a cheerleader in Ohio. I met my husband in our college marching band. We moved to a small town where he was active in the Elk’s Club and I taught music. I go to Starbucks multiple times a day, and my hair is currently in pigtails. I love the fall and its pumpkin-flavored everything. 

So when my husband and I adopted a baby with brown skin and kinky hair, we assumed race wouldn’t matter. Because all you need is love. And if we all just treat everyone equally, race won’t matter any more. Our daughter can grow up color-blind, right?

Over the last seven years we’ve learned how wrong we were. And it’s hard to be wrong. I want to assume everything is fine and that this is the age of equality. We have a Black President, right? This is a more comfortable place to live. Assuming that if we all treat each other with equality, everything will be ok. 

But if we look at racism as something that exists “out there,” we excuse ourselves from taking any responsibility. White people, it’s time for us to step up. 

Let me repeat that. 

It is time for US to step up. 

We teach our children that if a friend is being bullied at school, they should say something. They should believe the friend, and they should do what they can to help. We do not teach our children to tell the victim she should simply stop making such a fuss. We do not teach them to ask the friend what she may have done to deserve the bullying. We do not teach them to convince the friend that her problems do not actually exist. We teach them to look the friend in the eye and say “I believe you. This is wrong. How can I help?”

White people- our friends are hurting. They are being bullied. And it is time for US to step up. 

We need to set our white fragility aside. 

WOAH WOAH WOAH DID THIS CHIC JUST CALL ME FRAGILE? You don’t know me. You don’t know my life. 

Look. I get it. I didn’t want to hear it either. But the fact that the phrase “white fragility” makes people edgy is PROOF THAT IT EXISTS

Trust me for a minute. I know you don’t know me. But I seem trustworthy, right?

What if I told you that I have seen my daughter disciplined at school far more harshly than her white peers?

What if I told you that my friends from church- leaders in the church- have been stopped, all over the country, for Walking Or Driving While Black? Like, on the regular. 

What if I told you they’re hurting? Would you believe me?

Here’s the thing. Trust is a choice. Believing someone is a choice

What if we start with “I believe you. I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense to me. But I believe you. Help me understand. Tell me how to help.”

No more shutting down the conversation by trying to prove them wrong. Just listening. 

The past few weeks have shown my husband and I that we need to speak out and share what we’re learning. We’re hosting a series of talks on the Thoroughly Modern Mommy Facebook page. We were live last Thursday at 9:30 PM, and we’ll be live again this week at the same time. We’d love to have you join us. 

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. just another wordpress author
    Jul 19, 2016 @ 21:21:41

    What if I told you that blacks have committed over 50% of the murders in the U.S. for the last 25 years, although they are less than 15% of the population. Would you believe me (or the FBI)? What if I told that nearly 50% of all murder victims every year are black, would you believe me? What if I told you that 40% of cop killers every year are black (with some years spiking well above that – this year appearing to be one of those)? Would you believe me?

    There is a reason a lot of people are afraid of blacks. They excel in crime and violence and the FBI has been documenting this for a long time. It is not racism for a white person to avoid inner cities where violent blacks abound. It is not racism in some cities for police officers to be more wary of black suspects. And just for the record, black police officers are even more likely to shoot at black suspects than white officers (Dept. of Justice).

    The fact is that blacks killed by police, white or black, are a drop in the bucket compared to blacks killed by other blacks. If the BLM folks were rational, and obviously they are not, they would be protesting on the south side of Chicago against blacks murdering blacks.

    “We need to set our white fragility aside.”

    No, we need to to stop accepting unearned guilt for what we are not doing. We need to stop accepting accusations of racism that have no basis in reality.

    There are good and rational reasons why blacks are suffering. But white racism is not the major component. It largely involves a political party in this country that created a system of dependency for blacks as the price for bringing in 90% of the black vote every election. It involves a political party that destroyed the black family. It is also involves a political party that sanctioned the KKK, Jim Crow, lynching, and pulled the magic trick of convincing blacks that all the evil people in that political party somehow became Republicans in the 1960s.

    Reply

    • Thoroughly Modern Mommy
      Jul 19, 2016 @ 21:30:24

      I approve this comment with some hesitation, because I am concerned with a few of the phrases used here. But I want to keep an open dialogue. I fear you have missed the point in my post. (Since the point was to stop arguing and LISTEN, and your reaction was to argue.) I’m not interested in debating each point you have made, as I am certain it won’t get me very far. But I would like some clarification on a few things. You mention that “they excel in crime and violence.” Is your position that black people are naturally more violent? That they have some inner talent for crime?
      You also mentioned that there are good and rational reasons why blacks are suffering. Would you care to elaborate? What are those reasons?

      Reply

  2. just another wordpress author
    Jul 20, 2016 @ 07:01:36

    “Is your position that black people are naturally more violent?”

    No, I don’t think that black people have DNA that makes them more pre-disposed to violence. One doesn’t have to subscribe to that theory to explain the facts. The real problem is the dysfunctional nature of significant parts of black society in the U.S. Black author Thomas Sowell gives a pretty good explanation in his book “Black Rednecks and White Liberals.”

    “You also mentioned that there are good and rational reasons why blacks are suffering.”

    Again I would refer you to the above book by Thomas Sowell. He painstaking documents how presumably well intentioned policies have largely destroyed the black family leading to the situation today where many inner cities have homicide rates equal or surpassing some of the most violent third world countries.

    I wrote on my blog an article recently where I am somewhat skeptical though of all of the “good intentions” part.

    Let’s Keep The Blacks Down
    https://free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/lets-keep-the-blacks-down/

    ” I am concerned with a few of the phrases used here.”

    I know, it is part of the modern psychosis of many whites to see racism in just about every word and phrase, especially if it has ideas they are unfamiliar with. A lot of white people seem to be hyper sensitized and like those centuries ago who saw witches everywhere in everything (and hung more than few) these people today see white racism in everything just about.

    A good example is the belief by many that young black men are being gunned down by police every day for “walking or driving while being black.” But if one looks at real world statistics one finds that the vast majority of young black men being murdered are being murdered by other young black men.

    But if I present that fact to dispute that common belief I am most often accused to being a racist. My view is that white people do no one a favor by accepting false ideas and false narratives about racism.

    Reply

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