I don’t want to sound like a privileged, whiny, white girl, but if this is whining then I am damn proud to whine. Why, in 2017, is racism still a thing? What goes on in a child’s life to make them grow up with such hatred towards another human being based solely on his or her outer appearance? And why do the rest of us just let it slide unless we are the ones being directly affected?
I was raised to recognize the difference in skin tones and cultures and backgrounds and to celebrate those differences, but to also be aware that they do not make any one man better than another. We are all created the same way. With that being said, I feel like it is time to address the racism that should have been shut down decades ago.
The Confederate flag
Yes, this is a historical symbol. Yes, it is a part of our past as Southerners. And yes, it is offensive. The Confederate States of America tried out three different flags and eventually one stuck. This was also referred to as “the Blood Stained Banner.”
Let me give you a little history lesson. The Confederate States of America was a breakaway country consisting of 11 slave states. These states’ economies mostly relief on agriculture and a plantation system dependent upon African American slaves. Each of the Confederate states declared secession from the Union upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, whose platform opposed the expansion of slavery, as president. I’m gonna break it down for you: basically, a bunch of lazy white men decided to whine because they were being told that they would have to either work their plantations by themselves or else spend money and hire others to do it for them. These states seceded because they were full of a bunch of entitled white men who felt that they were better than others based on the fact that their skin was lighter.
The Confederate flag stands for slavery which is based upon racism. It is offensive and those who still fly it are causing Abraham Lincoln to roll over in his early grave.
Just because you live in the South does not justify flying the Confederate flag. If you are trying to support your country or you are incredibly patriotic then FLY THE AMERICAN FLAG. It is that easy.
"Go home, terrorist"
I am going to break this down in parts. Part one: “go home.” I am almost certain when somebody says this to a person of middle eastern descent they are not referring to the nice, suburban household with an upkept yard and back deck. No, yelling this phrase is telling someone to return to the country of which their ancestors derived. Well, guess what, folks? This is home. America was built by immigrants. In fact, America was built by a bunch of white immigrants stealing Native American lands and crops. How are we as white people supposed to justify telling anyone to leave our country?
Part two: “terrorist.” This is incredibly uncalled for. Yes, I do recognize that a group of Islam extremists have executed terrorist attacks on this beautiful country in the past. However, what I also recognize is the word “extremists” in this sentence. You see, if you have ever studied the religion of Islam you would know that is a very peaceful religion based on five pillars. Most Muslims have come to America to seek better opportunities than would otherwise be provided in their home lands, or were even born here. They have as much right to acceptance as anyone.
Altogether: every large group will have extremists. These extremists, however, do not represent the entire group of people. Not everyone will think or act the same way. When white men are behind terrorist attacks, they are “troubled” or “mentally ill.” Don’t judge an entire race of people by the minority.
"I am 1/16th Nigerian. I never knew the struggles of my people."
Listen. You are white. You have white parents with a distant, far-removed cousin from Nigeria. This does not make you Nigerian. You do not understand. You will never feel the same kinds of oppression or prejudice as African Americans feel on the daily. Please. Just stop. Be proud of your history, learn more about the culture and customs, but do not pretend like you understand or you know anything.
This is not a costume. Wearing a hijab as a Halloween costume and saying you are going as a Muslim is not a costume. It is rude. A hijab is worn by both Muslim men and women as a way of creating privacy of their lives as well as to protect one's honor. Each article of clothing that may be foreign to you has a meaning to those who wear it regularly. It is demeaning to see a culture paraded around as a costume.
"You're not like other (insert ethnicity here) people"
What does this even mean? I have already mentioned it but one group or race of people will not all be alike. One man does not stand to represent the entire group. Not all white people act alike, so why do we assume all those of any other race or religion will be the same?
We get it, okay? We know all lives matter. That is not what the Black Lives Matter movement is about. Black Lives Matter is about reminding people that black lives, in fact, do matter. They are constantly marginalized and discriminated against and belittled. Nobody said that other lives do not matter, simply that black lives do.
So if I am whining because I am white and I don’t fully understand (which I don’t) then I am proud to whine. I will stand up and whine daily. The vast majority of my friends are of another race, and whatever is affecting them is affecting me. I am so tired of someone feeling uncomfortable somewhere solely based on the color of the skin that he/she did not choose. And I am so proud of my friends who stand up and fight for their right to equality.