I’m college educated, a product of UC Berkeley whose reputation has been built on progressive philosophies and promoting social justice. But now at age 51, I know I’ve been afforded privileges and taken them for granted. I am the status quo. Having experienced racism before I was even a teen, I aspired to make myself “better than the rest” from that life-changing moment on. … Then, along that journey of “superior betterment” in college, I also came out as gay. … The feeling of someone looking disapprovingly at me especially because of my color has never gone away. So I ask myself, ”What are you doing about it? What have you done to change it?” Honestly, I don’t think I’ve done much. Is it just enough to exist as a proud gay Asian? Is it enough to just project for others the persona of what is possible for someone like me in the world? Is it enough to accept status quo and ignore the racism and the homophobia that I feel substantially shielded from? So all this to bring back my initial issue of feeling guilty for not truly validating the experiences of POC less fortunate and to ask, “Who else is feeling this way and what is the next step?”
to Carlos Watson
Mon, Jun 1, 12:56 PM
It is way past TIME for white America to BE Uncomfortable. Put another way, as a Black mom, I am uncomfortable every single day my grown-ass children are not within eyesight. How is THAT for being "uncomfortable"?
This is a conversation not just about white people, but for and with white folks, willing to be uncomfortable and willing to actually stand in solidarity for someone other than themselves. How many are willing to do so? I don't know. I know plenty of white women (mostly) who are truly heartbroken by what is going on now.
Have those uncomfortable conversations, but we, as Black folks, cannot bring white folks to the table. They must be willing to join the table on their own — and bring a dish (or some wine). We'll need every hand on deck to make it to and through November.
to Carlos Watson
tMon, Jun 1, 6:58 PMbd
Growing up in the small town of Granville (4,000), which was a hamlet of hard-working Italian, Polish and Irish immigrants as well as some WASPs (there is a term from the past!), we did not have the benefit of growing up with any brown or black folks. But to my knowledge it was not a problem or a topic that generated hate for black people. Nor was I aware of white privilege as a "thing." The topic still has a hollow ring to it for me personally because I never felt privileged and was always working hard to move forward and get ahead. … Today I am a grandfather, and my oldest daughter is probably going to get married to a Haitian immigrant. We helped get his naturalization status squared away. He is finishing up his master’s degree in finance currently. He is a nice guy who loves my daughter, and we took him in with out question. My oldest boy is gay and has a partner too. So we have the full complement of flavors our society has to give.
Its tough for me to see the looting, riots, and setting fires going on and not have a feeling that these are not the people who want equality, but are people who want to ruin things for others with no regard for their own lives. To me its the disenfranchised people who have nothing and care nothing for anyone else cause they have nothing to lose. Now I agree that there are definitely bad cops out there in all cities. I mean human nature has good sides and bad sides. But the issue looms large as a result of a few of the well-known cases of police going after black people. My daughter is a schoolteacher on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida, and she teaches English language arts. The kids in her class have a very different home life than the ones my kids enjoyed, and her students represent a large demographic of "at-risk " children. Kids who have no structure and they look for the next best opportunity to get over on someone. Whether it’s criminal in nature or mostly because they have no one to set guidelines about right and wrong. I feel very strongly that this is a family thing — you are what you know or what you were brought up like. I know there are many success stories about kids getting out of the ghetto or kids who just decided that was not the life for them. I am struggling with the idea of helping people who are so determined to riot, light fires and destroy buildings and such.
I also feel that there are a lot of Caucasians like me who feel the same way. I did not contribute to the plight of the downtrodden, but yet I have to pay for it? What have the politicians who run the inner cities been doing for the last 50 years just raping and pillaging. This is not a today problem; this is a problem that has been with us for many years but now seems to be raising its head again when for the most part I thought the ’60s and civil rights already happened. Yes, people will still have prejudices, but that human nature not a pervasive culture, at least not in my sphere of influence.
to Carlos Watson
Mon, Jun 1, 2:12 PM
The summer of 2019, my family was driving through Mississippi coming from a family vacation. I was a good 6.5 months pregnant with my daughter. My husband was driving and my two Black sons, who were 1 and 3 at the time, were sitting in the back seat when the unthinkable happened. A middle-aged white man decided to ram us in the back of our SUV, and then run us off the road into the emergency lane. He then proceeded to get out of his car as if he wanted to fight. Out of fear, I begged my husband to get us out of there and back to our hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. My husband drove off, and when he did, the white man looked in our car and yelled, "Niggers!" After that experience, I knew America has a serious problem. It makes me wonder how many untold stories of racism there are out there being that my story didn't make the news headlines. Hearing about what happened to George Floyd broke my heart because I knew that could have been my husband or one of my sons. I think that racism is truly disgusting, and I vow to fight the good fight to see it end. I want justice for George Floyd, justice for Ahmaud Arbery, justice for Breonna Taylor, justice for my husband and children, but most importantly justice for the many people of color who experience racism daily but don't get the chance to have their stories told. I simply stand and support the movement … Black Lives Matter.
to Carlos Watson
Tue, Jun 2, 4:06 AM
The fact that heavily armed white militia members in Michigan can walk into their state’s legislative building and the police stand idly by, while protesters for racial equality can’t be treated the same way says more about the response from authorities than it does about the message from the population.
to Carlos Watson
Mon, Jun 1, 1:21 PM
I am in the National Guard and understand the great power we have given to our governments, and honestly I feel that’s where the problems lie. We are all inherently imperfect people that are prone to racist actions regardless of our own race. Mistakes where law enforcement use excessive force will happen again.
To combat this we need better due process where the few bad apples in our law enforcement institutions are really held accountable when they commit crimes and cannot hide behind a badge from prosecution.
We can do this by limiting qualified immunity and roll back the power of our governments. Our elected officials are drunk on power and reluctant to give it up. One avenue is to move away from our corrupt political parties and seek a third option like the libertarian party. Crazy I know, but if we want real improvement we need to make a drastic change, and that doesn’t mean give more power to the DNC as they are not effective in enacting change. Voting libertarian is a vote for limiting the power of the government and limiting its power to kill its citizens.
to Carlos Watson
Mon, Jun 1, 7:43 PM
These are dark days in America. Our hearts are broken over the deaths of defenseless Black men, women and children at the hands of law enforcement and other violent actors. We’re filled with grief as we mourn along with the loved ones who have lost children, parents, friends, brothers and sisters. We’re infuriated at the actions — and lack of action — on the part of people in positions of power and authority. We’re exhausted, traumatized, dispirited and disgusted. The only thing that we are not is surprised.
How could we be surprised? How could anyone?
I am a Black woman born and raised in Detroit. I am the daughter of two Black parents raised in the Jim Crow South. I am the sister of a Black man who lives in Minneapolis. I am the mother of three Black children, and I am quietly sick with worry every time one of them drives out of our driveway or goes for a walk in our neighborhood. I am the wife of a Black man who can never get a taxi in the city — and who has been stopped repeatedly for driving his Mercedes while Black.
The violence and discrimination heaped upon the Black community are not new. They are centuries-old in America. The only difference is that now one recent despicable act is on tape, for all to see. Those of us who are Black know how many times acts like that have gone unrecorded, unreported, unprosecuted and unpunished. The weight of that injustice makes it hard for all of us to breathe.
This weekend, we spied a tiny ray of hope. Have you looked into the faces of the protesters? Have you noticed? How young and old they are. How Black, brown, Asian and white they are. How some are American, and some are not. How they are present in all 50 states. How some seem rich and others seem poor, and how that doesn’t seem to divide them in their righteous anger. How passionate they are. How eager to listen. How impatient for change. How tireless. How even COVID-19 cannot stop them from raising their voices to demand justice.
Have you seen the law enforcement officials who have taken a knee? Have you noticed the police officers who have walked alongside their neighbors who are protesting grave injustices? Have you seen those moments of grace?
These are dark days in America. Today we are holding up examples of people who have chosen to fight back against the darkness.
What can one do when surrounded by darkness? You can choose to shine. You can reach out a hand, pick up a broom, write a check, ferret out the truth, make time to vote, hire someone, help someone. Listen. Learn. Act.
If you stand silently and passively accept the darkness, then you are preventing the coming of the dawn.
to Carlos Watson
Tue, Jun 2, 1:54 PM