The older I get, the more I see what is painfully obvious: Our nation remains burdened by the plague of racism. And yet, while I find this fact to be indisputable, so many disagree. For every fellow American who nods along with me and laments our pathetic state of racial disparities, there seem to be more who say otherwise. They are the white Americans who are “tired of hearing about it” because “slavery was hundreds of years ago” and “not their fault,” so everyone should “get over it.” They complain about Affirmative Action and the NAACP and Black History Month because “Enough already! What more do these people want?”
Now we have #blacklivesmatter as the recent movement among the black community. And the white world is more annoyed than ever. Because #alllivesmatter, right? Well, obviously. But therein lies the point. If you are white, your life already DOES matter. I am white. My life already matters to the world. My children’s lives matter. Can a black person say that and believe it?
Laci Peterson. JonBenet Ramsey. Madeleine McCann. Jaycee Dugard. Elizabeth Smart. What do these names have in common? They are names of white girls and women who have gone missing, some never found. Do you know of any black girls or women who have gone missing and become famous for it? Shit, it wasn’t until hundreds of girls in Nigeria were kidnapped that the world cared, finally, for the first time, about a missing person of color. But #alllivesmatter, right?
And we wonder why #blacklivesmatter came to be? It’s not just about police brutality. People of color do not feel valued. They feel invisible and insignificant and they have to live with the fact that their children will likely suffer the same fate. And you know what, according to society, according to statistics, according to the media, they are irrelevant. They don’t matter. And this is not a post debating the merits of #blacklivesmatter and police misconduct. Quite honestly, I have the utmost respect for police officers and fire fighters and civil servants who risk their safety to protect us. UTMOST RESPECT.
But can you imagine living your entire life thinking YOU DO NOT MATTER to your nation? To your fellow citizens? To your neighbors? That NO ONE would miss you if you were gone? That the world wouldn’t care if something happened to your child—that her life is meaningless? I cannot. And I don’t have to. Because my kids and I are white.
Guess what else, fellow white folks? The world thinks we are naturally smart and deserving of honor. If my kids get into Harvard, society will think they deserve to be there and that they are intelligent enough to be there. Whereas the daughter of a senator, who went on to serve two terms as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, is only accepted into Harvard because she “pulled the race card”? It cannot possibly be that she, whose lawyer mother was also a Harvard AND Princeton graduate, earned her acceptance on her own merit?
The common responses to the issues of violence and poverty in black communities are to “stop killing each other” and “respect police” and “make something of yourselves.” Because it is probably just that easy, right? In a country that doesn’t seem to give two shits about you? When finally, for the first time, a black man is your president, and your fellow Americans want to spit in his face? When you know that if you disappeared, the media would not care? And if you do succeed, if you dare to get into a school like Harvard, that much of white America will find you undeserving of that success? So why try? If you’re fucked either way? But it’s all their fault, not ours.
Our own president is referred to as “a monkey who eats bananas” and his wife as “a female gorilla,” yet white citizens of the United States are so tired of hearing about race. Do you have any idea how evil and angry your fellow Americans are toward this family? Angry enough to throw their support behind Donald Trump, who strategically planned his presidential campaign to follow on the heels of eight years of a black family in office. And Trump went straight for the jugular. He knew the racism was seething. He knew how irate white bigots were, having to watch that man and his black family sit up in that fancy white house for two terms. And he fed that beast.
But yeah, let’s just stop talking about racism. It’s so boring and over done. It’s not our fault. We didn’t enslave Africans. We didn’t create this mess. And damn it is tough being a white person out there now, with all these liberals spewing their black love all over the place. What about the poor white folks? What’s going to happen to us now?
Don’t worry—we still have Donald Trump. And Trump promises that #whitelivesmatter.
This post was originally published on Sammiches and Psych Meds.