If you’re alive anywhere in the world (if you’re under a rock or live in a cave, you might be excused) you know what’s going on. Those who regularly read my blogs, know that I serve up a mixture of portrait session tea, photography tips, life lessons, and a peek into my personal life. I also like to use song lyrics for the titles of my posts. This week’s title is the title of the same name by DJ Kool. Anyway, moving on… For the most part, I didn’t touch political, religious, or social commentary, until now. Why now, you ask. Are you really asking why now? That should be obvious. I’m tired. I’ve come to realize that if anything I have to say today offends someone, they probably aren’t the type of people I want to serve or befriend anyway. I like attracting like-minded and like-energied (user-defined word) people. We don’t have to agree on everything but at least have a similar moral compass and be a decent human being. Is that too much to ask?
For those who may not know, I am married to a black man. I have a black son, black parents, black brothers, black sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles Godchildren, and friends. There are plenty of black people in my life whom I love dearly. I look at my beautiful son and am angry that I have to worry about how people will treat him simply because of the color of his skin. Look at that face. How can someone be afraid of him? What really gets me is that he just turned 15 and he’s 5’11” tall. I know at some point, someone is going to mistake him for a full-grown man before he’s even 18, and that bothers me tremendously.
Of course, these are not images of everyone, but you get the idea. It’s times like this that you find out who are your real friends and those who provide you with lip service. Even when times aren’t like this, if you’re on Facebook, the real them will eventually come out. Some people have surprised me and some people, not so much. What grinds my gears is that many of my white friends are complaining more about the destruction of property than they are about the murder of George Floyd. That’s a problem. Sure, nobody likes damaged or looted property, but that happens during a revolution. And why do we protest? Because we are tired of being treated like less than. We are tired of being brutalized by the police just because. We are tired of white people calling the police on us for just living and being. We are tired. We just want to live our lives and be treated justly.
So, let me get this off my chest…it has come to my attention that some white people don’t understand what white privilege is. Many think it means that you have it easy in life just because you’re white. Some believe it’s just something people say to make white people feel guilty for being white. Actually, it is neither. First of all, no one is trying to make you feel guilty for being white. You had no say so in what color your skin was going to be. That’s like someone being shamed for being tall. It is what it is. Secondly, privilege is having some sort of perk that you did not earn. The perk that white people have is not having to know about or deal with systemic racism. What is systemic racism? I’m glad you asked. To put it succinctly, it is a system or set of systems that broadly affect how people live and interact with society causing discrimination to a particular group or groups. To better explain it, please check out this link. For the most part, black people don’t hate white people, we just want the system fixed so that it works justly, not the way it was designed. This country was built off of slavery and inequality, so all of the systems currently in place were meant to keep that going. You may say to yourself that you aren’t racist and that may be true, but not saying anything to help fix the problem is being complicit. You may not be promoting it but you sure are condoning it. Instead of being non-racist, how about you be anti-racist instead. That would be a lot more helpful.
Another thing that has been bothering me is when white republicans/conservatives say that President Obama has set back race relations. I’ve heard this talking point before. Previously, I would just look at people like they are crazy and then tell them the racism only came to the surface because a black man was elected president. Then, I had an epiphany. Yes, people were upset that a black man was elected president but also when President Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. That’s when black people had started complaining about injustices more frequently. Then Mike Brown, Tamir Rice and so on. After thinking about it, I realized that it was white privilege at work that made them think this was all President Obama’s fault. White people thought that race relations were good because we were virtually silent or at least quiet enough for them not to notice. That was not the case. Black people had been placated to a degree because we had jobs and initially weren’t being killed on camera as much. Don’t get it twisted, race relations in this country have never been good. Tolerable, but not good.
Lastly, there’s Kaepernick. The infamous, San Francisco Forty-Niners quarterback who kneeled during the playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality against black people. I hate that such a symbolic gesture was turned into something political. I don’t think anyone thought too much of it until the current president misstated that he was disrespecting the flag and the military. That’s when everything blew up. If anything, the flag and this country are disrespecting black people. The flag and this country promise liberty and justice for all but that’s not what’s happening. As Trevor Noah so eloquently put it, American has broken its social contract with black people. To hear his entire analysis, please click here. It is brilliant, in my opinion.
There is so much more I could say. To sum it all up, this is a rebellion. We are tired and we want and need change. We are tired of white people calling the police on us for just existing. We are tired of being brutalized and killed by the police. We are tired of not getting justice when we are killed by the police. We are tired of being turned down for jobs that we are qualified for simply because our names are non-traditional. We are tired of being pushed out of our neighborhoods by gentrification. We are tired of voter suppression and gerrymandering. We are tired of harsher punishments and constantly being assumed to be dangerous on untrustworthy. We are tired of the current occupant of the White House lying about any and everything. We are tired and angry. I want my son and all of my nieces, nephews, and Godchildren to grow up, first and foremost. Then I want them to be able to succeed and live life happily without having to worry about how they will be treated in regards to their skin color. The goal is not to be colorblind. If you are colorblind, that means you do not see me nor value who I am. I need you to see me and value me.
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” ~ Thomas Jefferson