To any White friend I have, or have had:
In this deeply racist society, it’s simply not enough for you to “not be racist;”
It’s not enough for you to treat me with the respect I deserve;
It’s not enough for you to open your home to me, and your other Black friends;
It’s not enough for you to know what’s happening;
It’s not enough for you to be and to be ‘outraged;’
It’s not enough for you to know the history of racism in this country, or even, of every other country on the face of this Earth;
It’s not enough for you to read Angela Davis;
It’s not enough for you to know Malcolm X;
It’s not enough for you to walk in Black Live Matter protests;
It’s not enough for you to recognize your White Privilege;
It’s not enough for you to know how capitalism is inherently racist;
It’s not enough for you to repent for the sins of Whiteness: multiplying the number of Nat Turner’s, Emmett Till’s, and Henrietta Lack’s;
It’s not enough for you to be actively antiracist;
It’s not enough for you to hold your White counterparts accountable;
It’s not enough for you to unlearn your racism;
None of it is enough when you remain silent about it.
White supremacy doesn’t end by you doing your antiracist work in the shadows. White supremacy doesn’t end by you not making it inherently clear that you are antiracist. Again, and again, and again. Until you’re blue in the face. Anything less than making your antiracist action known to your white friends and white family is violence. Anything less than you normalizing talking about race with your white friends and white family is violence. Anything less than you continuously shouting from the rooftops how white people can unlearn their racism, and how white people can contribute to dismantling white supremacy is violence.
And your violence is no longer acceptable to me.
I’ve endured years of your silence. I’ve seen you consume every inch of Black culture except for the death that comes with it. Through the years, I’ve heard chorus upon chorus of your thoughts on the latest Black dance, win by your favorite majority-Black sports team, Twitter beef between your favorite Black celebrities, or clothing drop from your favorite streetwear brand that routinely coopts trends started by Black people. And throughout the years, I’ve heard your deafening silence when police killed Trayvon Martin, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randy Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Ezell Ford, Darius Pinex, Ramarley Graham, Yvette Smith, Darrien Hunt, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Kendrick McDade, Akai Gurley, Rumain Brisbon, Aiyana Jones, John Crawford, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Stephon Watts, Rekia Boyd, Trisha Miller, Dakota Bright, Corey Harris, Larry Jackson Jr., Tarika Wilson, John Crawford, Gary Hatcher, Manuel Loggins Jr., Nicholas Hayward, Kathryn Johnston, Samuel Dubose, Freddie Gray, The Charleston 9, Sandra Bland, Corey Jones, Alton Sterling, Roshad McIntosh, Ronald Madison, Joel Acevedo, Philando Castile, Patrick Dorismond, Jordan Baker, Timothy Stanbury, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Scott, Jordan Edwards, Stephon Clark, Bothem Sean, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
I’ve endured your silence all 60+ chances you’ve had to speak out. I’ve endured watching you take zero of those chances, and still resolving to calling yourself my ‘friend.’ “Maybe they’re waiting for the next one?” I used to wonder. But, now I know that your silence means that you don’t see the perpetual violence against Blackness as your problem.
And it’s laughable.
Have you not lived this life in community with so many people? The next time your friend’s family member is sick, will you not console them? Will you not congratulate the next family member of yours who gives birth? Will you not check in on your friend who attended a funeral? Or, console the next one who has their heart broken? …Oh, I’m mistaken? You’ll be there for them? Even though none of those things directly have anything to do with you?
So, then, why the fuck are you not avidly fighting to make Black Lives Matter?
It’s because you don’t believe that they do.