Thursday, June 4, 2020

No More Silence

I'd say that a lot has happened in the world since I last posted here but when I think about it a little more, nothing new has happened. Of course, the news is filled right now with the tragedy (the preventable, non-sensical, criminal tragedy) of George Floyd's death. Protests, riots, angry mobs, vandalized buildings. . .it's all in the news and my news feed on social media. It's made me realize that this is nothing new. It has been happening for hundreds of years. The news just is currently making a big deal out of it (which they should!) and of course, everyone has their own opinion and most are not shy about sharing it. 

I've never considered myself a racist but I've always been very shy around Black people. I've always been a bit naturally shy but I have often felt guilt around Blacks, since their presence causes me to be very aware of my own whiteness and the generations of oppression and brutality Blacks have suffered because of white people like me - like my ancestors. While my own ancestors never, to the best of my knowledge, owned slaves that does not free me from the guilt of being white. 

I know older people in my own family who were very racist, people I loved and still love. My grandma, growing up in West Virginia, told me stories about drinking at separate drinking fountains, using different entrances for movie theaters or bus. She grew up in the 30's and 40's. My own Grampie was distrustful and suspicious of Black people, though when I was a child, he often visited our church and during fellowship time played horseshoes with Mr. Patton, a Black man who oversaw the hospitality apartments at the servicemans center (which is how my mother, a local girl, met my father, who was in the Navy). 

This past week has made me uncomfortable, beyond just feeling appalled and horrified that a Black man was killed needlessly by a white police officer. I have felt it is time to dig into why I feel discomfort and why I feel guilt and why that's a good thing. It IS a good thing. People, we need to wake the fuck up! How, how can we sit on the sidelines and think that this isn't our fight? That we have no right to be part of this? How can we think, like I often have, that maybe my presence is resented and not wanted? Ok, those are selfish thoughts! IT'S NOT ABOUT US OR OUR FEELINGS. It's about fucking justice. It's about no longer being silent because when we are silent, we are adding to the oppression. There is no neutral ground. We are either for it or against it. And by god, I'm against it. I will stand up and use my voice and actions to show it. I will acknowledge the oppression my ancestors have used to dehumanize the ancestors of my Black brothers and sisters. I will cry and feel all the feelings that come. I will not be silent any more. I will do the tiny part I can to be part of something much bigger, hoping, praying, determined, that together our unified voices raise a cry that will not be ignored. 

So this past week has been one of much thought and reflection. As I've gone about my daily life different passages of the Bible flood my mind - I memorized so much of it as a child, and those verses still come to me without thinking. This verse especially has been on my mind this week: 
 "Now Cain [e]talked with Abel his [fbrother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.  " Genesis 4:8-10
And this one:

 "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. " James 4:17

I cannot be silent any more. WE cannot. White people, we cannot. Believe me, I know all the excuses we can come up with; we ourselves here and now are not oppressing Black people, right? We have friends who are Black! We have family who are Black! We aren't racist. We think everyone has value. We don't see color, right? We are all one race - the human race! Right?? Right? 

Black lives matter. They matter so much. They are members of our family who deserve for us to step out of our comfort zone and help right now. We need to be there for them and let them know we have their back. We are there for them. We see that they are Black. We acknowledge them. We acknowledge the opression they have faced - often at the hands of people who look like us. We apologize, we acknowledge our own addition to their oppression, by having been silent and standing by.  We are humble. We educate ourselves (I'm such a baby starting out - but I'm goddamned going to learn!) We listen. We stand with them. We speak with them. We make a chain that cannot be broken.

So instead of sewing and crocheting or painting or doing other things like that I'm making signs and even though I am slightly terrified I'll be going to my first BLM protest this weekend and taking a baby step towards doing what I ought to have been doing all along. We can't be quiet. This isn't right. Nothing can be solved by doing nothing. 

It doesn't feel quite right to put in pictures so I'll end with that. For now. I love you.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your lovely thoughts!