A friend of mine sent this letter to my email. It was written by someone on Facebook responding to comments by white people regarding the events in Ferguson. Lauren Leigh, a white woman herself, broke down point by point why the usual racism-based denial comments are simply stupid and embarrassing. This is mostly directed towards white people on Facebook, but this can be applied to almost any social networking medium:
Dear white people on my Facebook feed: I love you. I really do. But seriously, please take some advice from one white person to another. Don’t look publicly stupid by arguing any of the following about Ferguson:
1) “‘They’re'” just playing the race card it’s not about race.” Yes, it is. Because no matter what we find out when the Michael Brown investigation is over, young black men are being profiled and targeted by police in a way that white men are not. If you’re 18 and you’re white you get a chance to explain yourself. If you’re 18 and you’re black your parents (maybe) get an attorney to explain your death. That’s not equality. And see those quotes around “they’re?” The fact that you think this is “their” problem and not OUR problem shows you that segregation is alive and well–at least in your mind.
2) “But our president is black so race is no longer a factor.” A black president doesn’t mean shit. One half-white, Harvard-educated head of state doesn’t indicate any more about the average black experience in America than Bill Gates’s wealth indicates about my bank account. We both white. We ain’t both rich.
3) “This stuff happens to white kids too but no one talks about it.” What the fuck are you talking about? No. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to white kids too. You know why? Because white people have power by virtue of being white. When a white kid dies under suspicious circumstances, people pay attention. Police don’t prey on white people. Because they can’t. And even if you find a couple of analogous situations YOU STILL WON’T GET ANYWHERE CLOSE to what the black community experiences every day. Get your head out of your ass. You don’t even believe this shit.
4) You don’t believe me? Well, try this exercise. And don’t worry, you don’t have to post your answers because realizing you have racism engrained within you is unsettling, I know. Just do this in your own head: ask yourself, would you, without hesitation, switch places with a black person? No. You wouldn’t. Now generate a list of reasons why not. Even the ugly ones you don’t want to admit. BINGO! We aren’t equal. And race IS still a factor. If it wasn’t, you’d switch without a second thought.
5) And finally, don’t fucking say you’re “tired of hearing about Ferguson.” TOO FUCKING BAD. So sorry we’re annoying you. I can see how awful it must be for you especially because WE’LL NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS HAPPENING TO OUR CHILDREN. So you have the PRIVILEGE of turning your head. Black people don’t.
Stop embarrassing yourselves. And stop speaking like you know what it’s like to be black. How about instead you LISTEN for once to what “THEY” are saying and check your privilege at the door. You might learn something. Or, at the very least you may look less like you should be wearing a white hood or a dunce cap.