In the aftermath of the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, I am hearing different people speak up about racism and the violent acts against African Americans in this country. Some of the most powerful comments have come from white people as they awaken to the problem. I celebrate your epiphany. To gain understanding and admit injustice about a system from which you benefit unjustly, (i.e., white privilege) requires true self-reflection and courage. But it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO GO FURTHER.
Another George Floyd is happening somewhere today just as it did yesterday, the day before and the day before that — recorded or not. So don’t be dismayed if not every person of color applauds you. Engaged on the front lines of this unwarranted, painful and daily fight for life and dignity, and emotionally exhausted from holding families and sanity together, understand if we may not have a lot of energy left to congratulate you on your newfound enlightenment. Moreover, without action, it may seem like too little, too late.
If you know something is wrong and do nothing about it, you become an even bigger part of the problem. It is imperative that you do something in your sphere of influence to change the situation. Call out ignorance. Don't tolerate racism in your presence and in your systems. Donate (and donate big) to those fighting for justice in these very cases. Vote for justice at every level of government. Continue through pushback from family/friends.
Most importantly, do not take the attitude that you are doing this for black people. That thinking is pejorative at best. Remember, these are atrocities not of our making. Do this because it is the decent thing to do, the human thing to do, the right thing to do — PERIOD.
Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes