This article is long over due, but in the wake of multiple tragedies caused by white supremacist ideology, in my humble opinion, it is necessary. The problem, as has been stated by countless individuals across various platforms, as well as out loud, is us. Yes, us. Whether we realize it or not, at least a part of each one of us has been complicit in a form of aiding and abetting behavior that could lead to what occurred in New Zealand at one point in our lives. While this is not an easy post for me to write, as those who were impacted by the tragedy attempt to heal from the pain they are feeling, we who are not, have a job to do – take a hard look at ourselves and do better.
For background, I was raised in an environment that breeds racism like infected rabbits. It was toxic, as one could presume, and infected me in ways I wish not to repeat, because that mindset is harmful, and should be furthered no more. Still, thinking such as that has become a widespread problem throughout the world, creating spaces that have become unsafe for anyone without light skin, a cross around their neck or praises of Jesus on their lips. I, as someone who has been further educated by various people of color, wish to change this.
To be clear, I want no part of the “White Savior Narrative”. That is not my intention in writing this, nor will it never be. However, I do hope to educate fellow individuals, who seek to allow complacence to become the breeding ground upon which more sinister forces could re-populate if not addressed, to re-evaluate at the bare minimum. Silence is compliance.
Which leads me to this – white people, it’s time we hold ourselves and others accountable, if we have not been doing so thus far. Sentiments that lead to the destruction of life for those who are not like us do not begin when someone places their hands on a weapon, but far earlier. It is time we acknowledge that passivity cannot continue as that is what allows for dangerous thoughts to run rampant.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our voices have been amplified because of our skin color alone, in some cases. It is a fact that while some disagree vehemently about, as they refuse to see their privilege as it is, there are others of us who see it and hope to do better with it. We cannot do this alone though. Collectively, not only in times of sorrow, but in joy, we must all commit to constant vigilance, and refuse to allow hate to poison the water of life.
Likewise, our current political environment has given rise to some of the most virulent strands of hate in recent years. The words of politicians have been heeded or taken as permission to do harm to those who are not of the same gender, race, ethnicity, and much more. Anyone with a shred of sense will realize that this is not okay, and it needs to stop.
So, as a Caucasian person, what can you or I do? It’s simple, really. We need to stop, take a step back, and listen. Listen to whom, you might ask? To the very people that our actions have either indirectly or directly caused harm to – people of color, those of different religions other than Christianity, and so on. Their voices are the ones that should be heard now, as they are the ones who are repeatedly slighted.
For some, this task might not prove to be difficult at all. However, there are others of us who refuse to allow their voices to be unheard, even when our opinions are unnecessary. This is the path that has led to countless, senseless shootings and other acts of violence or microaggressions against those who have been previously harmed by colonialism and white supremacy for as far back as history can reach. Regardless of what has taken place in the past, this must end now.
Geoffrey Holder once said, “Education begins at home. You can’t blame the school for not putting into your child what you don’t put into him.” With that being said, that racist uncle who makes rude comments during the news? Hold him accountable. That sibling who makes jokes about people of color? Hold them accountable. The bottom line is that, if we do not address the hate we see surrounding us in our daily lives, then how can we expect it not to fester, and manifest elsewhere outside of it?
If you take offense to this post, then consider it a reprimand, as well as a call to action. I am not perfect, and have believed toxic mind sets in the past. It is only because I have met and learned from others in my life who are different from me, as well as read countless articles and posts by people who live in a skin so distinct from my own, that I became aware that I had been wrong on so many accounts. With that being said, words have power, as does knowledge, and I intend to use mine for good, rather than perpetuating hate.
For those wishing to boost the fundraiser on social media, or donate to the victims of the recent shootings in New Zealand, I will leave a link below. As needed, I will update with more if I find any other legitimate ones.