“Say something, I’m giving up on you.” -A Great Big World
Other than in a few frustrated bursts among friends, I haven’t really commented on the racially-motivated mass murder in Charleston last week, and I’ve been entirely silent online. Not even a Facebook post or a #CharlestonStrong tweet.
A sliver of the truth is that I’ve been too overcome with emotion to string a sentence or two together, and that’s what I would have said if someone had asked me.
But the whole truth is that I’ve been afraid. I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing or sound dumb, afraid to voice my opinion on a topic about which I felt uneducated, or afraid that I would inadvertently plagiarize a thought I’d picked up online from one of the dozens of op-eds or articles I’ve been obsessively reading all week. All these reasons were about me and my fears. Me, me, me.
I stayed silent.
And then I read this post. This line took my breath away. “If you have any black friends at all, I guarantee you that your silence is more likely to offend them than your saying something.”
Fuckity. Real talk.
I do have black friends (and actual, real life friends, not “some-of-my-best-friends-are-black” friends). I have black coworkers and neighbors. I’d like to speak out for them, although I’m struggling with a way to explain that, without it sounding, again, like this is all about me.
It doesn’t matter anyway; the truth is, my black friends, coworkers and neighbors don’t give a shit what I say, here or elsewhere — they just care about what I do and how I act.
So until I figure out how to live my life in a more purposeful, loving way that will do the most good, at the very least, I will use this platform to print these opinions of mine so I’m no longer part of “the deafening silence among white American friends” and affirm these truths:
- Black lives matter.
- If anywhere, the Confederate flag belongs in a museum, and should be removed from all federal and state government buildings.
- White privilege exists and white people should stop arguing about it.
- As a white woman, I do not need a man to protect my sexuality, and I abhor the idea that it’s used as an excuse for violence.
- I will seek out and join communities that are action-oriented.
- I will write a letter to the DC AME churches to let them know they have an ally.
I have an open heart and an open mind, and I know that’s good. I just want it to be good for something.
Please don’t give up on me.