It’s time for white folk to just shut up. We are not listening. We are shouting down the message.
Four years ago, Colin Kaepernick peacefully took a knee and we (White Folk) shouted him down. Athletes who joined him were called sons of bitches and threatened with firings. A blonde-haired news pundit told an athlete to “shut up and dribble.” Conservative radio wrapped their racism and white nationalism with the US Flag and made it about disrespect instead of listening. Award winners who dared to use their medium as a platform were told to just accept their award and shut up. Be quiet so we don’t have to listen.
Why? It’s easier to be tone-deaf if you don’t have to listen. You can be happy and secure with your head stuck where the sun never shines.
Four years later, what has changed? I’m being kind, I could have asked twenty years later? Or thirty…. Nothing. Systemic and institutional racism is still in place along with the double standard that is our justice system…and white people are still attempting to shout down those who are affected the most.
You dare to question this great country? Just shut up and sit down, or move. “Don’t like it here, go back to your shithole country.” If we shout long enough maybe a bigger story will come along during the next news cycle to make people forget. People do forget…white people.
White folk needs to shut up and listen. Violent protest is not constructive…you are preaching to the choir if preaching to me. It ain’t about me. The white folks who have the most to lose are using it to drown out the message.
Our forefathers put the system into place, and we have guarded the fire of discrimination as if our lives depended upon it. Not all, I believe the loudest shouters are in the minority and are the ones guarding and fanning the flame of racism and intolerance.
It is time for the silent majority to shut out the shouts of the minority haters and decide what we believe in. We can’t afford to sit on a fence that may burn down from under us. Shit or get off the pot because it is not the responsibility of people of color to destroy an oppressive system. A system, we, as in whites, put into being…and have maintained since the end of the Civil War. We must be the ones who dismantle discrimination and we can’t do that without listening. We have to make dialog possible…by shutting up and listening.
“But things are better aren’t they?” I don’t know. I’m an old white guy. Maybe you should go ask a friend of color…and listen quietly and intently.
I don’t believe white people get to make up the rules for acceptable protest. We don’t get to share cute memes of MLK’s nonviolence without also sharing his quote “Riot is the language of the unheard.” To do so is as hypocritical as “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” when we have a system that openly disparages, marginalizes, and discriminates.
Before we shout about violence, we need to accept our own. My lifetime memories are full of scenes I’d like to forget. As a student of history, I am aware our history books are full of glossed over white initiated violence in the name of expansion, manifest destiny, imperialism, and racism. Glossed to the point it doesn’t exist.
King’s peaceful protests were met with burning buses, police dogs, and water hoses. King’s belief in non-violence got him killed. Murdered by a white man with a gun, trying to maintain the flame of white supremacy.
“Oh, but that was long ago, people just need to get over it.” People can begin to get over “it” when we admit and accept our sins and the sins of our forefathers. I don’t believe we’ve done that. I think we have done nothing but shout our excuses and what-about- isms.
The riots from the Nineties disappeared from our rose-colored sight and out of mind…and little was accomplished. The same with protests from more recent history.
I’m an old white guy who doesn’t understand how burning down your neighbor’s house because you are pissed is positive. I won’t ever understand it. My time and energy, and yours, would be better spent listening with an open mind and attempting to understand why there is so much anger and frustration.
If you find it easier to believe in leftwing plots, led by George Soros or Bill Gates, the Democratic Party, Antifa or the Illuminati…if you believe it is a rightwing plot, led by Donald Trump, the KKK, The Church of QAnon or other far-right groups, you are part of the problem because you would rather face made up problems than real ones. The real one is too painful.
Are they organized, certainly but I don’t believe it is a Dark State plot. Activism is not a dirty word and it is not anarchy. Are there bad players at work Sure, but you are allowing them to shout over the message. You are not listening.
You are the ostrich with your head in the sand or worse if you don’t believe people of color have a reason to be mad. You are shouting instead of listening because you don’t want to hear the truth. You are afraid to listen to the pain, anger, and frustration of your neighbors because you might have to acknowledge we live in a racist system. You are helping to fan the flame whether you want to or not.
In 1968, King died from an assassin’s bullet. The white shouts were almost the same as today. The streets were burning and National Guard troops patrolled American cities. The cries were of anger, sadness, and frustration. We didn’t listen. We were too busy shouting about radical agitators as we watched the newsreels loop. We wouldn’t shut up long enough to listen. It was 1968 or is it right now?
In 1992, LA burned after four LA policemen were acquitted of the beating of Rodney King. They were caught on camera for the nation to see. The National Guard was on patrol again and there were the same shouts, the same excuses. We didn’t listen. It couldn’t be about a racist system. It was 1992 or is it right now?
Do we repeat the same sins by drowning out people in pain or do we shut up and listen? Are we willing to push for meaningful change or wait for the next tragedy to drown it out and return to the status quo? Are we willing to change?
George Floyd’s death was awful, but it only cast a light on one symptom of the disease. The disease isn’t terminal yet but it is moving swiftly in that direction. Shut up and listen before our racism kills us.
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