There’s a pandemic out there that’s only slowly getting better. And amidst that, black people have to be on the streets demanding to be heard, demanding for support and safety.
I’ve always been behind the scenes with my support, as I think many many white people are. We’re conditioned and it makes for a wider racial gap.
(Unrelated-ish) I remember growing up I was super close with my little brother. I moved away at 19 and when I came back he was a totally different person. We weren’t close anymore. I didn’t know this version of him. When we finally had a chance to sit and catch up, he told me that he spent all that time unlearning lessons that were instilled in him from a young age. I’ve never forgotten that because we’re all guilty of perpetuating bad behavior that we just don’t know how to undo.
I want to undo my silent racism.
I’m heartbroken to not be at the protests, and if I lived alone and was only accountable for my own health and safety, I’d be there. Whether you’re for or against the riots, they’re important. But going to protests and riots is just a wedge of what needs to be done. If you have a platform of any kind, if you have an audience, voice your support, voice your alliance with Black Lives Matter. If you can talk to anyone anywhere about this, use your voice. If it’s the only thing you can do, do that.
Maybe only five people read my blog (I’m pretty sure there’s a way to find out how many people read my blog, but I don’t know how to find that out as of today, so I’ll just say this is for my five readers) but this is my platform. The thing I do more than anything else is use to story, use words to express my feelings, concerns and ideas.
And this week we’re talking about Beautiful Women. So I want to talk about Breonna Taylor.
We’re all hearing about George Floyd because there’s video footage of the brutality he faced. Floyd was suffocated to death, a knee on his neck, by a police officer under the charges of forgery. FORGERY. The most non-aggressive and frankly boring crime someone could be charged with. And forgery is even a weird way to say this. Floyd was accused of trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a supermarket.
We’re hearing less about Breonna, maybe because no one has a video of it, but make no mistake, a woman needlessly lost her life whether the camera was on or not.
She was an EMT and first responder, an essential worker at the front of the pandemic. She didn’t give up to protect herself, she continued forward to protect others.
The police entered her home in civilian clothes with a “no-knock warrant” to search for drugs under a warrant for someone who did not live there.
They sprayed her home with 20 rounds, shooting Breonna eight times. The people involved in that warrant were already in custody.
How does this happen? How can I feel so safe in my bed, knowing that would never happen to me, when the police are breaking down the wrong doors and killing people? She was a good person, someone who was called to help people, and she died for what?
If you don’t know your privilege as a white person, let me start by saying, your chances of being shot on false charges are much, much slimmer than that of a black person. You go to the police for safety, where the police are the danger for black people.
George Floyd should not have died. Breonna Taylor should not have died. Ahmaud Arbery should not have died. Black people who should not have died keep being murdered by the people white people trust to keep them safe.
I understand it’s scary to get involved, and sometimes it’s scary because you’re afraid you’ll do it wrong. You’re afraid you don’t know how to support. Racism is a part of our history, it’s something we have to unlearn. Take the time to unlearn it. Read books, watch shows, listen to podcasts. DO IT WRONG if that’s what it takes. Everything you do wrong in the pursuit of justice and understanding is another step toward doing it right.
Start right here: click this link justiceforbreonna.org.
Sign the petition. It takes no time whatsoever. If your fear is that your name and email will be in the ether as a supporter, or even a protestor, good. This is how you become an ally. Black people shouldn’t have to stand up for themselves. They aren’t committing these crimes against themselves. Now it’s time for white people to stand up for black people. White people are committing these crimes against black people.
Breonna was a beautiful woman with a good heart who thought first of others. She was 26 years old. Where where you when you were 26 years old? How much more life have you lived beyond that?
Sign the petition, use your voice. If your heart is broken because you can’t be at the protests, protest from home. Post on social media all your support. Go to this link https://www.jennaarnold.com/resources and follow those people, use those resources. There are many many books out there geared to white people who don’t know how to be supportive, books about how to reverse the racism ingrained in us and our history. If you’re afraid to help, start with educating yourself. It’s the least we can do. The literal least.
You aren’t here reading my blog because you don’t know me.
I’m a woman, I’m a lesbian (happy pride – support black queers), and black lives matter to me. You wouldn’t be here if you thought I was someone else. And if you’re here and you want to support and you need more help, join in. There’s a lot to learn. I’m not an expert, I’m not really even knowledgable. But all it takes is looking, seeking out the truth, finding information, educating yourself.
My last anecdote for us white folk who need additional understanding. I have friends, people I care about deeply, people who mean the world to me, who are black. What if the people we loved, the black people we loved and cared for were those people who were murdered? The lack of pattern, the inconsistency, the randomness at which these crimes are committed is terrifying.
No black person is safe if what we’re seeing are white people making up thinly veiled lies on crimes that are so heinous a person had to lose their life over it. Forgery? A bogus warrant? JOGGING? If those are grounds for murder, the people we know and love are not safe. If you can’t understand the chaos, think about the people in your life who aren’t safe right now. The people you would never want to lose.
That’s why we stand up and fight. We fight because the people we love and the people we care about are being murdered for no reason.
We’ve got a cool group of people together willing to read White Fragility to get the ball rolling. It’s information. Join in. Get an audiobook or kindle copy. Get it wherever you can.
Do you have other resources, tips or notes about getting involved, educated and supportive? Let’s hear it. If you’re still at home, like I am, tucked out of the way of danger, use this time to speak up. Use this time to understand why it’s our turn to get involved.