by Tara Bostock
My fellow white folks,
I love you and I’m hoping you will hear me out. Our reaction, as white folks, in times like these may be to isolate individuals from their context.
What I mean is that when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, some white folks are mad at him for “showing disrespect to the US”—when Terrence Crutcher was shot, some white folks are saying “he should have heeded orders from the police” – When the Garfield High Football Team kneels collectively at a game, some white folks call them, “entitled delinquents.”
But the fact is, these events are not happening in isolation—they aren’t born out of an individual situation happening in an individual place. The context surrounding them is that black folks have been trying to tell us for forever about the treatment they receive, the missed opportunities due to systems that push them out, the violence that they experience at the hands of police.
Our experience is not theirs and it is beyond time that we respectfully listen to what they have to say. If you feel defensive or angry about what they are saying, I ask that you sit with those feelings and examine them.
Why would someone sitting for the national anthem make you so angry? Especially as he is joined by more and more others every day. Why do you feel indignant when folks are upset that a black man was killed by police? Please. Examine your emotions.
My guess is there is something else at the base of those feelings that is worth grappling with, something that isn’t allowing you to see why people are hurting. It is inhumane to not hear the stories and the anger and the cries of people in our communities, lives, and world who are suffering.
White folks, we all need to work on ourselves—we all need to regain the humanity necessary to actually listen to other people. If we truly care about justice for all people, we need start with bettering ourselves.
Tara Bostock is a Hillman City resident and part of European Dissent, a collective of white anti-racist organizers working in accountability with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
Featured image is a cc licensed photo via Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr