If You Have to Ask Me if I’m Ok, You Don’t Get It

The past couple of months have been hard. We’ve lost 100,000 American lives to the Coronavirus. I have personally lost my Grandfather due to the disease and know numerous friends who have lost relatives and loved ones. It came as no surprise to me that African-Americans were dying at a disproportionate rate. There’s a saying that when America gets a cold, black people will get the flu. Dealing with this loss and suffering has not been easy. But then reports and videos have surfaced of white people killing black people as though we aren’t even human. We’re fighting not one but two viruses.

I have personally reached a breaking point. I have been unable to sleep, I have been emotional, and I had been suffering a headache for days. The part of me that is tired, is a part within me that I can’t even describe. My soul is tired. My very being is tired. I’m tired of seeing the video of George Floyd played repeatedly on the news so America can get off on seeing black people suffer. To see a human being treated less than most people treat their dogs is repulsive. But what hurts the most is that so many people still don’t get it. So many white people sit by and say nothing and do nothing and act like the whole world isn’t burning down around them.

As I watch those around me act like everything is ok, I wish that for one day I could experience that sense of privilege. To live in a world where I don’t have to worry about my loved ones coming home. To not weigh if I should have children of my own, because they will only ever be seen as less than. To not have to defend my right to be in certain spaces. I would love to know what that freedom feels like. What the world must look like through your eyes? I don’t want to be white, I would never want that. But I imagine that this freedom is intoxicating. It’s comforting. And I think I would do anything to protect it if I had it.

White supremacy is not the issue. White apathy is the issue. If I ignore the problem because it doesn’t personally affect me, then it’s not there. When my coworker makes a comment that is racist, I’ll say nothing because I’m not a person of color. If you stand by and do nothing in the face of injustice you are as culpable as those committing the actual offense.

America has never dealt with its issues. The country we hold so dear was built on stolen land. Our Constitution that we revere so much was signed with blood. The blood of thousands of slaves and indigenous people. What we’re seeing play out is our reckoning. The anger that we see is the anger that Black people live with every day. The fear that you are feeling, is what we feel every time we leave our homes.

Many people are calling for peace. Arguing that the violence displayed over these past few days is not going to help the situation. Violence begets more violence. Killing a man in the street is violent. Choking someone to death is violent. Shooting someone in their home in the middle of the night is violent. The argument for less violence is really an argument for Black people to show no emotion. We cannot be angry, sad, hurt, or scared. We should grin and bear the pain that our ancestors carried before us.

I’ve had well-meaning white people ask me if I am ok. And I wanted to ask them if they really care? Or are you really asking if I am angry with you? Do I blame you for the pain that white people have inflicted on my people? The answer is no, I don’t blame you. But I do hold you accountable. If you truly care, donate to an organization that is fighting racial injustice. Create safe spaces for Black people to share how they truly feel. Be mindful of what you say and how you speak. Do the necessary work to ask yourself in what ways has your privilege helped you and in what ways have you contributed to a racist society? March with us when the police are mowing us down in the street.

Remember that just because we carry the burden well doesn’t mean it’s not heavy. It makes it that much heavier when you realize it’s not our burden to carry. You ask us to carry the pain of our ancestors, but you don’t want to carry the pain of yours. The time has come for us to put that burden down.

To my white readers, I want to end this post with a list of ways that you can make a difference and educate yourself on your privilege:

 

Donate to a social justice organization:

Black Visions Collective

Louisville Bail Fund

Reclaim the Block

 

Educate yourself:

Watch 13thand When They See Us. Both are streaming on Netflix.

 

Read:

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

 

 

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Lizzie, thanks for your raw honesty. I am right there with you and feel your pain. Words seem so inadequate in times like these.
    Keep hope alive, stay strong, and keep doing all that you can do. Thanks for sharing the valuable resources.
    Receive a big virtual hug.
    Marcia B

    Like

  2. First, let me thank you for your post and your discipline week after week in writing your blog. You are a credit to your generation. Your social consciousness is admirable. Secondly, I want you to lay that burden of inequality and injustice at Jesus’ feet. He will and is delivering the black race from the systemic racism and injustices in these United States. “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.” Do not allow the ugliness of hate, to rob you from the beauty of life. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – – that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government”…. Also, in keeping with the first amendment, and the right to peaceful assembly, many Americans have taken to the streets, to protest the murder of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis. It is good and it is right. It is unconscionable to me, that amid the many black lives that are being lost to COVID19, that police officers would kill an innocent black man in the streets of Minneapolis. We have been living with the brutality and excessive force perpetrated on black men and women in the streets of America, for decades. We have been stifling our feelings of disbelief and anger, when time after time after time, the police officers are not convicted for the murders of these black lives. Regardless of the evidence presented in court, a jury of their peers acquits them of the charges. And so our hearts bleed, and our fellow citizens ask us unwittingly, are you okay. What I want to know is, would you be okay if your twelve year old son was shot in the park 2 seconds after a police exited from his car. The officer did not question the youth to find out the situation. The police responded to a call of a guy carrying a pistol, which turned out to be fake. Would you be okay, if your son was murdered walking the streets in Sanford, Florida on a rainy February evening, and was accosted by a want to be cop, and murdered. That murderer got off, for standing his ground. Would you be okay, if your son and brother was murdered in his apartment by a cop, who entered the man’s apartment, thinking it was hers. Would you be okay if your aunt was murdered in her home, in front of her eight year old nephew for no reason. Oh yes! They have left off from killing us in the streets to killing us in our apartments and homes. America, would you be okay, if you went to church for Bible Study and nine of your parishioners were murdered, because the murderer had to kill black people that day. We are not okay with the senseless loss of life. You have mistaken our silence for assent, we are not okay. We are citizens of the United States of America, we have a right to be here. We have been endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. Those rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are going to continue protesting, petitioning and praying. Until we can truly say as a people, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last. Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your continued support and for this enlightening comment! I know it took a lot and the words you’ve shared have touched my heart!

      Like

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