This article is going to be a little bit different. Normally when I sit down to write, I talk about things from my own life. This article is not going to be about romantic intimate relationships. This is going to be about relationships with humankind.
I am a white female, and my whiteness has put me in a place of privilege in society. Now, this is of no direct fault of my own. I did not ask to be born white, I did not ask for my privilege. But, the very fact that I am white puts me at an advantage in this society. I would be blind, insensitive, and just outright wrong if I did not acknowledge that.
I would also like to take a moment here for those who do not know the difference between struggle and privilege. Just because I am white does not mean that I have not struggled. In fact, a large majority of my childhood was a struggle. But I did not struggle because I was white. My race did not play a role in my struggles, and for that I am privileged.
I will never know what it is like to walk into a store and feel like all eyes are on me. I can get pulled over and be around a police officer, and feel safe and protected. I can go for a run, with my headphones in, and not worry about being shot. This. This is my white privilege. This is the privilege that was given to me at birth, my nature of my skin color.
As a white woman, I need not to forget my privilege. It is a part of my identity, just like my gender, my name, my age, the fact that I am a daughter, and a friend. I will never fully understand what it is like to be a person of color. But it is my duty, because of my privilege, to use my voice to stand up against injustice.
I may not know what is like for my non-white counterparts, but I can see the injustice they experience, and I can acknowledge that pain. I can stand with my friends, neighbors, and fellow humans and listen and fight for their right to live. I can demand justice. I can pray with those who lost loved ones. I can listen to stories of experiences and learn. I can march. I can yell. I can cry.
I can, and I should. I can, and I will. I can, and I must.
Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” To those of you who are dismissive and ignorant by saying things like “All lives matter”, do not understand the Black Lives Matter movement. It is about recognizing that although every human life on this Earth is deserving, that Black lives have been neglected and disregarded. That black lives have been ignored and oppressed. That black lives are in this position because of white lives.
And in the same breath it is important to address another issue: the police. Are all cops bad? No. Are all cops inherently racist? No. But, any action not taken to weed those bad ones and racists ones out is complicity. Saying nothing is not enough. Condemning is not enough. Hoping for better is not enough. Action is required. Actions speak louder than words, and right now we need more actions than words. Right now, we need people who will stand up and walk with our black brothers and sisters, not spray pepper spray in their eyes and abuse them by other means.
To my friends who are people of color and to those who I have never met before, I may never understand the exact situation you are going through. I will never know what it is like to walk a mile in your shoes. But, I want you to know I hear you and I am willing to listen to your experience and stand by you. I hope one day our society is able to rise above all these unnecessary instances of injustice. But until then, I hope you know you matter to me. #BlackLivesMatter