Oh, White People

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If you can’t muster the courage to be an ally– at least be very mindful of what you do say!

Oh, white people it’s going to touch you

How much longer do you think you can ignore it?

You love your favorite basketball player, but the racism—you didn’t sign up for it

But it only starts with Lebron

It doesn’t end there…it goes on

It’s your boss, your neighbor—even your best friend becomes hate crime victim

While you sit idly by, still pretending there is no racism

I mean, what year is it?

You are above it

You voted Obama as president

You deserve the right to be passive and silent

 

I am just so curious

I need to know how long does it take to notice the elephant in the room has already had babies

And is raising an entire dysfunctional family

I am not asking you to fight for me

Just wake up and acknowledge that yo, you fucked up, B

Every nigger joke that you let slide—hell, every nigga lyric you rapped

Every all lives matter post you hashtagged

You don’t get it, and now you missed it

The revolution has already begun, son

And you have chosen Switzerland

Because of that we can’t be friends

I don’t have the luxury of ignoring social unrest

My mental is distressed

My brothers and sisters are dying

Please don’t say you don’t know why, because in the back of our minds we want to say fuck you

And your whole crew, too

We were brought here for your labor, allowed to stay for your entertainment

Cultural confinement

It feels like living in a zoo

And it’s cute when we have our rallies and marches as long as it doesn’t bother you

You are not neutral

You are lazy and apathetic

You are pathetic

And it ain’t right but I almost have more respect for the so-called “alt-right”, at least they had the balls to choose a side

You hide

Behind Facebook reposts and thumbs up on Kiana’s status

You don’t know what it’s like to live like this

It’s going to touch you

Better yet, hit you like a ton of bricks

And it will be too late to ameliorate this shit

“Black people should just stop committing crimes” is a phrase that echoes from your privileged lips

Tell me, who deserves to die from selling loose cigarettes?

Or for wearing a hoodie while carrying a Skittles packet?

Or from routine traffic stops

Just stop

And take this moment to tell yourself the truth

You don’t care as much as you say you do

OR

Maybe you fear the work involved and the loss of friends

Just remember, when you choose no side the evil party wins

 

It’s going to touch you

Creep into your soul; haunt your dreams at night

You Netflix and chillin while the rest of us are at war and we fight

I hope your grandchildren ask you your thoughts on fundamental civil rights

I hope they want to know where you were during the real emancipation

And I hope you give in and tell them something real

That you checked out because you just couldn’t deal

A “Fuck Trump” bumper sticker is as far as you could go

You didn’t know your voice could have a powerful impact

That you could do your part to pick up the slack and help bring decent humanity back

America is bullshit right now, for us it was never great

Your silence is not a worthy component to conquer all this hate

So sorry to wake you up out of your comfortable slumber

But are you grabbing a bucket or is this ship going under?

There is no fence to straddle

There is no grey, just black and white

Just wrong and right

…you gotta choose

Because my friend, it’s going to touch you

 

I have said it once and I am saying it again; I do not like talking about this stuff on the blog. The subject of race, politics, religion etc. is a minefield! As a practitioner and teacher of empathy I acknowledge that it is difficult to communicate with people in such a way that they not only come to an understanding of your personal plight, but also make the effort to change their way of thinking. Furthermore, addressing a group of people who consider themselves peaceful, non-combative and believe they are genuinely good people, free of bias and prejudice could perhaps even have me labeled as a bully. But it’s my blog, so here we are…

I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I live in Prince George’s County Maryland—one of the most prominent and prosperous black counties in the nation—and I have always worked in either DC or Northern Virginia. For those who don’t know, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC is known as the DMV and is home to a unique culture in and of itself. We are a melting pot of different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds on top of including the nation’s capital where all the dirty politicians dwell. Because of our culture of political correctness I never understood the different levels of racism, prejudice and bias until well into my twenties.

As a teen in high school I didn’t understand why none of my white guy crushes liked me. When I entered into the workforce at 19 I didn’t understand why white people were so taken aback by how articulate I am, and I didn’t really understand that white people were capable of appearing woke as fuck, but more than likely went home to their white lives and immediately stopped giving a fuck. In the DMV area we are the nucleous. News stories have a deep impact here and if you are not talking about Kaepernick, insert-protest-march-here or Trump’s latest tweet then you are not a part of the conversation. Washingtonian white people are a part of the conversation because it is their business and in their best interests to be so. However, it took me longer than I’d care to admit to realize that being in the know is not the same as giving a fuck.

For me, the worst kind white people are those who immerse themselves in black culture and claim to not see color but do not consider themselves allies nor do they want to acknowledge that the need for allies exist. I sat in silence during the election season as I listened to my Republican friends say things like, “Ugh, I don’t know who to vote for– both Clinton and Trump are so awful!” It felt like a stab in the back to my face—if that makes sense. I thought to myself, “So you are ok siding with racism and misogyny because your loyalty is to your political party and not decency and humanity? Duly noted.” I didn’t purge as many friends as I probably should have, but I peeped the bullshit and I am aware.

I am aware of the white people in my life who remain silent or eerily neutral when the topic of racism comes up. I am aware of the white people in my life who are uber liberal arguing you down about feminist rights, pontificating about LGBTQ rights and debating you about the top ten hip hop albums of all time. But, I peep when those same people are passive, evasive and vague during group conversations about race relations as if they are too afraid or unwilling to say, “That is racist. That is unjust. That is not ok.” Period. I liken it to a silent gaslighting where I literally begin to feel like as if I’m crazy and I ask myself “Am I playing the black card? Was that shooting indeed a racist act of violence or am I overreacting?”

The kind of white person that quietly wonders to themselves why all lives don’t matter and loves black people but wishes we would chill and stop getting shot is fast becoming my least favorite kind of person. Maybe I am getting old, but I just can’t fuck with the duplicity like I used to. As tensions rise in our country, I am starting to treat silence as acquiescence. As much as I hate covering these kinds of topics I do it because it’s my life—and my life and my reality are not up for debate or opinion.

If you can acknowledge that fake news and sensationalism exists, then why can’t you admit that racism still does? Obama voted in as president does not magically erase the disturbing history of a country that was built on the backs of African slaves. Ignoring the existence of racism is a dangerous game—a weak one. It takes strength to dare to step out of your own delusion, admit that injustice exists and to check your own privilege and prejudices as well as those of your peers. It takes strength to make the decision to stand up to bigotry and hate when the safest move for your physical and mental health might very well be to try to remain neutral. The decision is not going to be easy, but you must decide.

If only people of color had the luxury of making such decisions.

 

Apples for Oranges

It is a strange paradox how the world treats us as if we don’t matter or exist, while simultaneously immersing themselves in our culture. We are some of the best people. We love the hardest, bring a cool swagger to everything we do, are inclusive yet coquettish, aloof and hard to read—passionate, longsuffering, loyal—all of those things. Still, I wonder; what are we going to DO with all of this anger.

Anger and passion

Oh, the Humanity

…seems to be missing from us lately, and some of us have become so cruel in our “I don’t give a fuck about anybody else but me and my people” mentality. I take pride in my identity; I find causes that I believe in and fight passionately for them in ways that I feel I can contribute. All the while, I try to remember that if I want what matters to me to matter to others at the very least I should continue to show respect for the lives of others. There is so much chaos going on in this world, every event and social issue cannot possibly relate back to my cause. At a certain point I have to examine whether I am comparing apples to oranges because of misguided emotion and bitterness.

There was fear in my heart just days ago, watching the news and the accounts of the terrorism in France. Terrorism is the kind of godlessness that makes you collapse to your knees and pray for the release that is the end of the world. Who wants to continue to live this way in suffering while bearing witness to the suffering of others? My Facebook page is a sea of red, white and blue in vertical lines—it is also an ocean of information that I simply did not know.

Apparently this past April, there was a similar terrorist attack at a college campus in Kenya. That familiar sinking feeling burrowed itself deeper in the pit of my stomach—why am I just now hearing about THIS attack? Why was there no Facebook flag app for THIS? I knew the reason—hence the feeling of dread in my belly. Fact: the lives of the ones with brown faces do not matter to the general public as much. The media does not find our plight interesting. The loss of lives in “savage country” is inevitable and deemed not newsworthy. We are the last page of your newspaper, a buried link on your social media timeline– we are an afterthought. The sheer outrageousness of this boils inside of me and it takes a whole hell of a lot of compassion to rise just above it in order overcome those feelings of resentment and bitterness. Who am I really mad at? And when the fire in my belly is extinguished, do I allow the ashes to cool into a pile of apathy? Perhaps cruelty? In our efforts to spotlight that we are people that do matter in this world, are we negating the value of other lives lost as a result of senseless violence…of other lives lost period?

When White People Speak

…they are immediately shut down and told to have several seats. For people who speak out of their asses, intent on trolling and spewing ignorance I am all for this. However, not every white or non-black person is wrong, or hateful or racist. Not every NON-BLACK cause is ANTI-black. Caring about the hundreds of people killed in a brutal terrorist attack does not mean that you do not care about the social and racial issues happening on your home soil. By that same token, changing a Facebook profile picture from one flag versus the other does not mean that one tragedy trumps the other. How much you care shows in your actions, in your charity and how you choose to advocate. Facebook profile shaming is frivolous and petty. We have to be better about not focusing on the negativity we see in the loyalty and passion of others and focusing on our personal goals we are trying to accomplish. No matter what cause you stand for it is not to be compared to that of another. I want to make sure that I can handle the load of apples that I carry without worrying about how the weight compares to your oranges.

Nickie vs. MileyPersonally, I wish we could continue to focus on educating those who are ignorant and fighting alongside those who are in the know. The media will report whatever’s sexy—they will report American politics, movie news, the Kardashians—but it doesn’t mean that the general public has to care about these things. Just because we can’t control the media does not mean we have to be controlled by it. This anger, this frustration and attitude can definitely be channeled toward something more positive that will ultimately help us to better communicate our point of views and bring about changes to the way society thinks. We don’t have to be bullies! When confrontation occurs, I don’t want to turn it into a keeping it real session. When our necks start twisting and the word bitch starts flying around our whole argument becomes lost. We don’t have to play in the field with those who choose to play dirty and we can choose how we channel our negative reactions.

Who is this “we” I speak of? Me and you. The world is hurting, and it’s ok to admit that it’s not just black people. In our efforts to influence the world and serve as voices for our various causes we mustn’t lose sight of our humanity. We are not the only ones who feel pain, and we might be surprised to find that it is those who suffer alongside us who can turn out to be our biggest allies.