It’s not very often I’m at a loss of words, but yet here I am.
For days, I’ve mulled over all the words in my head, all the things I’ve felt and came up short with what I wanted to say. In the short word, I’m appalled, I’m ashamed, I’m disappointed, I’m uncomfortable. Back and forth, I didn’t know how to articulate what I felt when I scrolled on Twitter or Facebook. I had thoughts, I had feelings, but I couldn’t find the words, and the words I could find, I felt like I couldn’t scream them loud enough or put enough sincerity in them.
I’m appalled at the current events of our country, I’m ashamed that it’s taken me 27 years to come to the realization that I’ve been so blind to these issues, I’m disappointed in myself for not addressing this within me sooner and I’m uncomfortable because it’s a tough pill to swallow when you discover an ugly truth about yourself.
As a white female, I have the luxury to use my voice and be heard. Not everyone is as fortunate. And that’s why I’m left so speechless.
I know in my heart of hearts that I have never thought of another person who didn’t look like me any less. I know that I have never judged someone based on their skin color or their ethnicity. But what I didn’t know about myself was that I had been ignorant to let my privilege go to waste. Because these matters didn’t affect me directly, I simply held it in my thought for a day or two, and moved on with my life, not ever realizing that these injustices were an everyday thing to some.
What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is heinous and inexcusable, and I think we can all agree on this. It’s something that unfortunately happens way too often, and it pains me that it keeps happening. What those four officers did can never be reversed and my heart aches for George’s family, and the others who have been taken unjustly at the hands of someone else’s decision to execute another’s life, simply because of their skin-tone. I think most of us can also agree that George’s legacy is being tarnished by the senseless looting and rioting that’s taking place, and personally speaking I don’t condone it. I don’t support it, however, I get it: You’re tired, you’re angry and you’re not being heard. Know what makes a loud roar? A fire that’s raging and burning.
My white privilege is something that I’ve taken for granted for too damn long. I will never understand the struggles that people of color go through, and I understand that I never will understand it. It’s not the time to try and resonate with a community I’m not a part of. However, it is my job to be a voice when yours is no longer heard. It’s my job to stand with you. To support you. To understand you to the best of my ability.
A friend, a young black man that I think very highly of, wrote a blog post that really struck a nerve within me. When I say struck a nerve, I don’t mean it in an incriminating way, but rather, it forced me into having an uncomfortable discussion within myself: I didn’t even realize how privileged I was and how I have this potential to make a difference, and I just sat idle.
When I was younger, I was quick to throw the term “All Lives Matter” when discussing the Black Lives Matter movement. I realize now how foolish I sounded because in order for all lives to matter, black lives have to matter too. My original argument was never meant to belittle the BLM movement, because I prided myself of being someone who didn’t see color. I never saw it as black versus white, I saw it as good versus bad and vice versa. Even though my intentions were there, it still made me sound ignorant and for that, I apologize.
We live in a society that provides us plenty of opportunity to educate ourselves and to reformulate opinions once given new insight. This is what I’ve been doing for the past few days. My silence hasn’t been out of neglect or because I didn’t care: It’s because I didn’t want to fill the void with deceitful words, I didn’t want to misspeak. Even now with writing this post, I’m battling myself with sounding too pretentious. This isn’t about me, but realizing within myself my wrongs of my outlook on social injustices is a starting point to help articulate ways to be an advocate in the future.
Above all, I don’t know how to fix the problems within our country. It’s not a one-size-fits-all bandaid that I can sprinkle with a little bit of fairy-dust and make it all go away. I wish I could. At the end of the day, we, as white people, need to have more discussion. Uncomfortable discussions with ourselves, with our families and friends, our colleagues. Everyone. Anyone. We need to educate ourselves on how to be the change we desperately need in this world and how to be compassionate with one another. Again, it’s not our place to understand because we never truly will, but ask how can we help make it better?
I don’t have the answers, no one does. But talking can gear us to the solution down the road along with donating, protesting (peacefully), educating, speaking up for those who can’t and using your voice in a productive manner.
We’re all feeling uncomfortable right now, and rightfully so. In uncomforted circumstances, it allows for growth. So let’s grow into a society that respects one another, loves one another and supports one another. United. Together.
My heart is with all of you and my inbox is always open. I see you. I hear you. I support you. I am with you. Every step of the way.
Stay well. xo,