Guest Writer: Emily Reischer
It seems like every day we are waking up to a new story, a new black person’s name becoming a hashtag. I am disturbed, I am angry, and I am disheartened by the America that I live in. I am white, I am privileged: words that too many white people refuse to say. My life has not and will never be made hard because of the colour of my skin. I will never be scared to go for a jog, fearing for my life. People love to justify racism and murder by saying the perpetrator was “scared.” This is not fear, this is ignorance. The real fear is experienced by the black lives who are scared of getting killed by white supremacists and racist police. Police brutality needs to end. Their job is to protect and serve, not kill, and profile. Murdered for writing a check, murdered for jogging, murdered for not signalling a lane change: Murdered for being black. There is no justification, there are no excuses.
We do not live in a post-racial society; we live in a world far from it. The amount of people who use the n-word is disgusting. Their typical excuse is that we live in different times now, compared to when the word originated. Slavery is not in America anymore, so the world must be harmless. But is the society we live in really so different? Lynching and hate crimes, continued racial oppression, we are still living in those times. The amount of non-black people who are obsessed with using this word terrifies me. I am scared of the white Americans protesting stay at home orders with guns on government steps, who get commended by the president. I am not scared of the people (referred to as thugs by the same president), who are protesting the death of an innocent man, George Floyd. I am scared that the protests are turned violent by the police with tear gas and foam bullets. The justice system is not flawed, it is broken. Innocent black members of society are jailed or killed, while violent white people are let off the hook without a scratch.
This is political in the sense that Donald Trump promotes racism. Laws are actively made to discriminate and oppress minority groups. But this is not political in the sense that these innocent beings do not deserve to die. I do not feel this way because I am a left-wing liberal, I feel this way because I am decent. I do not see how people can listen to the stories of these taken lives, and not see a problem. We need to start having tough conversations with family, friends, significant others. We need to speak up, educate ourselves, educate others and listen. I am appalled by the injustices people are faced with and the excuses made for the oppressor. Justice needs to be served; changes need to be made. If you remain silent, you are part of the problem. If you claim to “not see colour,” you are part of the problem. If you make racist jokes or say the n-word, you are part of the problem. If you deny your privilege, you are part of the problem. If you preach “All Lives Matter,” you are part of the problem. This should not make you uncomfortable, if it does, check yourself and educate yourself. You may have an ignorant family, you may have said/ done ignorant things in the past, but that does not mean you cannot grow and change. The same voice that you have mistakenly used for hate, can now be used for peace. Use Your racial Privilege to fight racial oppression. Whether that be challenging your parents when they say something racist, simply not saying the n-word, or becoming a vocal advocate in your community. Nonwhite- Americans should be angry, and white Americans should be backing them! You can do your part by speaking out, challenging racist remarks, donating, and voting.
Just because you have white privilege, does not mean your life is easy. It means that you will not face injustices due to your race. Members of the LGBTQ+ community have to be scared to go to pride events or night clubs, thinking they might get shot up. Trump administration frequently attempts to allow for the discrimination of non-cis, straight people. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights did not end with legalising gay marriage. Trans women of colour are the most targeted group for hate crimes and violence. The media fails to cover stories as the victims are often misgendered or dead named. We need justice for the lost Black Trans lives. Gender and skin colour should not make you vulnerable to murder. People of non-Christian faith are often targeted. They have to fear getting murdered by Neo-Nazis and White supremacists in their places of worship. One-fifth of Muslims in the US are Black. They are marginalized in America, targeted in their Mosques, and safe spaces. The people shooting up night clubs, synagogues and schools are the terrorists, and the majority of the time are white. When it is a white man, it is “not all white men,” but when it is a minority, they get generalised and stereotyped as a group. This shows the nepotism and ignorance that we have in our society. Multiple groups face hate and discrimination, but screaming “All Lives Matter,” minimalizes the intent behind the Black Lives Matter Movement. Black lives are not treated equally by law enforcement, or by the world in general. The movement and its title is important because, in this world, Black lives are treated like they do not matter. White people and their egos have been fed with feelings of superiority and immunity. They get away with terrible crimes and comments which adds more and more fuel to the destructive fire. We have a leader who teaches young white boys that they are better. According to the NAACP, the numbers of hate crimes and murders of black lives have risen since Trump’s election.
Privilege and oppression manifest in different groups of people, while I do not have all forms of privilege, I do have white privilege. I have educated myself, and I will speak up for the rights of Black and Brown lives. I will always speak out for minority groups, even if I am not oppressed. We need to fight, even if we are not the ones getting killed and discriminated against. We need to support our Black friends and peers, who are rightfully fed up. I recognise and respect all of the Black people who are fighting against society for something that everyone should have: safety, protection, and a life without fear of murder. Black Lives Matter.