You Are Not Only Wrong About Systemic Racism, You Are Complicit
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Politics and Activism

You Are Not Only Wrong About Systemic Racism, You Are Complicit

There are no reasons, only excuses, for silence.

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You Are Not Only Wrong About Systemic Racism, You Are Complicit
Wikipedia

I am a 21-year-old white woman. I grew up in a grossly predominantly white suburb. My high school was 99 percent white. My friends were mostly white for the first 18 years I was alive. And growing up, my mother always taught me that my life had value. That as a person, I was worthy of respect, of love, and that my life is innately important. And the system agreed with her. The system supports my worth.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep over a man I have never met. A man whose worth wasn’t acknowledged in the same way as mine. He was kind and quiet and respectful. He had a good job. He worked with children and was loved by many.

But because he was black, Philando Castile was shot and killed in front of his family.

Tell me truthfully that a white man would receive the same fate. Tell me truthfully that I would have been cuffed and detained, as a white woman who had just witnessed the man she loved be shot four times in front of my little girl.

You cannot tell me either of these things and not be lying to my face.

And shockingly, unbelievably, there are people I grew up with, people whom I have known and cared about who are justifying the actions taken. They say things like "If he had done [insert small, irrelevant action here], he wouldn't have been shot" and "Cops shooting innocent black people isn't a big issue when black people shoot other black people more often." They show their grief for the cops in Dallas who were killed, but feel no pain for all of the black lives taken in the past weeks, and months, and years.

Yes, my mother taught me my worth. She taught me respect, and how to listen, and how to understand. She taught me to be resolute, and stand up for what I believe is right. And so, I will not be apologetic when I say I refuse to respect or acknowledge any opinion validating and making excuses for systemic racism because it is wrong. Your opinion is wrong and I do not care if that refutes the very definition of the word. Inequality is wrong. Shooting innocent men because of the color of their skin is wrong. Attempting to justify these things is WRONG.

I am afraid. Because someone who could potentially run our country in just a few short months is widely and publicly supported by the Ku Klux Klan. Because a Nashville police officer was quoted as saying, "Yeah, I would have done five" in response to Philando Castile being shot four times. Because the cop who pulled him over did so because of his "wide nose."

I am afraid. Because while change itself is inevitable, the necessary change this country requires to survive is not approaching quickly, if at all.

I am afraid. Not for my own life, but because it could be someone I love next. Because it WILL be someone that SOMEBODY loves next. Because if I marry a black man, I will have to explain to my children why some people look at us funny. Because my future child could become a hashtag. Because my future child could become a hashtag.

There are no reasons. There are only excuses. And there is no excuse for silence when innocent men are being murdered. Speak loud, speak clear. Say their names. #PhilandoCastile, #AltonSterling, #MichaelBrown, #TamirRice, #EricGarner.

I am afraid. I am heartbroken.

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