The color of our oppression has been white. Our sorrow has been spat upon by privilege, sustained in inequality, and coated with the tears of our ancestors. It has been the overseer as we lie awake at night wondering when it will shame us using our own skin. – The color of our sorrow has not been a color at all, but rather the lack thereof. The lack of it in our judicial system, in our government, in our schools. It has been the embodiment of everything that is against us, the very shape of the rope as it hung our forefathers from a tree. The screams that we were unable to hear as Emmett Till’s body was tossed into the waters- as a church went up in fire and smoke surrounding our four daughters. It is this very piece as tears run down my face, and I scrub at my skin as to erase my race. It is being told how to protest for our right to our rights.
An ally is just that- an ally. You can march with us. You can put #blacklivesmatter in your bio. You can even buy the t-shirt, it is appreciated more than words can explain, but you can not tell an oppressed person how they should respond to said oppression. “But you know I’m not racist..” “but why don’t you all just use peace? Like I understand it’s not fair, but you can’t fight fire with fire”. Stokely Carmichael (Kwame) once said that, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States…has none.” Involved in the movement or not, whether you consider yourself to play a role in the resistance or not- it is not your place to criticize the way that black people react to our pain. You can not regulate our response to racism, nor our feelings toward disparity and discrimination. However, you can recognize the privilege that you carry when participating in the activities mentioned prior. Defend your black loved ones from the comments of your racist relatives. Don’t just tweet about it, be about it. Work in your own communities for change. Don’t just join in already known black organizations, create white ones such as SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). Work to change the minds of your white counterparts. Hold your prejudiced and racist friends accountable. Tell your friends that do their best to “stay out of politics” that that is their privilege. Tell them that “your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.”(Kristen Tea). Organize within yourselves as well as with us. Dismantle the supremacy complex and mindset that is present in white households.
“Whites who are sincere don’t accomplish anything by joining Negro organizations and making them integrated. Whites who are sincere should organize themselves and figure out some strategy to break down prejudice that exists in white communities. This is where they can function more intelligently and more effectively, in the white community itself, and this has never been done.” -Malcolm X