I want to start by saying these are all my opinions and my perspective, and the suggestions I am going to share with you here is how I would personally respond to my white friends or any white person that reaches out to me and offer support!
The reason am writing this article is to share the struggles I have been going through since the break out of the Black Lives Matter movement due to the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests which have been going through to demand justice and equality. There has never been a march that meant so much to me like these protests I have been participating in since day one here in Salt Lake.
As a mother, I don’t even think participating in these marches is for me really but for my children and many other young black men in this nation. I don’t want my boys who are black to grow up in FEAR and WORRY because they can’t TRUST the POLICE who should really be here to PROTECT them and the community. Until this day, I have not had the gut to watch the George Floyd video but I have heard his voice on videos for when he called our for his MAMA in hopes there would be some kind of rescue. I have listed to when he was saying how everything hurt and to let him breathe. And, every time I heard of it or think of this grown man voice calling and crying in anguish, I have cried myself. Because, this could be my son one day. It’s painful.
So, when my white friends reach out to me to express their care for me, as much as I appreciated it, I have found myself holding back anger. Everytime I have received a message in a txt or email or via voice mail for sympathy, I keep finding myself triggered and I don’t know why. These times are very difficult for a lot of black people. I, for example, can’t really process anything right now besides what’s behind Black Lives Matter. I am just being honest.
But even with my mixed feelings and triggers, I still want to show my white friends that I appreciate their concern for me. And of course, as we know, when people reach out to you for support often times it means I want you to feel free to talk to me about how you feel. But Since I can’t talk about my feelings right now, and trust me, it’s probably a good thing because otherwise I might end up offending or hurt someone with my words. So, I drafted and always had these bullet points ready for a response! I think it’s been therapeutic for me and at least I haven’t ignored my friends care.
- I text back a simple note and express how invite them to join me in a march for solidarity. Whether they come or not, at least for me, this is how you show me you are “sympathetic” because I don’t like the feeling pity for me messages.
- I text back and say something nice but then add please continue speaking out against injustice and racism. And continue to treat others with care and compassion instead of making them feel like second class citizen
- I text back a nice word and add please Be real with me. Learn about me don’t just assume am AGGRESSIVE, GHETTO, UNCIVILIZED or INCOMPETENT by the way I speak, dress of because of the color of my skin.
And, there are some white people who live in their own bubble who have no idea or clue about the world and other cultures. And, they are probably really shocked that there is such thing as “injustice” or “racism.” These are the people who could be living in peace and love 24/7, I don’t know, but this is the time you refer them back to google so they can educate themselves because it’s not your duty to start explaining nothing to no adult with common sense.
I hope you are staying safe and well!