In the past years America has heard shouts of “black lives matter,” the promotion of “black is beautiful” and revolts against general lack of diversity—yet equality still is not on the horizon.
So, white people—it’s time to stand in support of the black community. White supremacy is an issue emerging into the light with help from the millennial generation. It is not a secret white people commonly receive advantages their black counterparts are denied, but many choose to ignore the escalating issue.
When no one speaks up, it never ends.
White silence is agreement, consent and approval of the widespread violence against black bodies. Black men account for 40 percent of unarmed killings but only 6 percent of the U.S. population—a drastic contrast in representation. In 2015, police killed 102 unarmed black men—five times the rate of white unarmed police shootings. The disproportion of police violence should shock and infuriate all American citizens.
Since societal structure has developed into an unfortunate hierarchy of race, it is up to white people to use their privilege—although skewed and unearned—to change it. Jamilah Lemieux, senior editor at Ebony Magazine, says it perfectly in her article on the issue: “White folks have to be the one to stop the future White-supremacists of the world, because the folks who hate us will never care about our tears.”
Lemieux makes an age-old but compelling point—if something is going to cause change, it has to be the people in power. Especially when those people in power are the reason the problem both exists and persists.
There are many people who would specifically listen to white peers before an entire community of people who have been screaming for equality and respect for centuries. Love for every skin color and culture must be spread throughout the white race.
Before any action can be taken, a majority of white people must support minorities and genuinely view them as equals. Unfortunately, this is a perspective the white race has failed to adopt as a whole. Since the proposal of white people helping black people would inarguably require the eviction of racist philosophies from society, it is easy to consider this issue far from being solved. It is imperative to be active in spreading the importance of eliminating white silence in personal lives.
It is no longer acceptable to sit quietly while friends, distant relatives or coworkers crack racist jokes or make prejudiced comments, no matter how subtle. It is no longer acceptable to watch the news and brush off the young black people shot and killed every day. It is unacceptable to maintain ignorance of inequalities worldwide. Every person in this country has an obligation to shut down discrimination, wherever it may reside.
Consider two parallel scenarios: a person is downtown and a normally dressed white man walks toward them. The person wonders if the man might be selling or promoting something, or possibly needs directions. Now consider the same person is downtown and a normally dressed black man walks toward them. In this alternate situation, the person immediately feels apprehensive and concerned for their safety.
Inherent judgments are structured through social interactions and media exposure. To make any substantial change, white people have to fight the continuation of breeding prejudice into our children and producing stereotypical media, like casting black actors only as criminals, the help or sassy women.
It is extremely important to be aware of the goal to be an ally— do not speak over black people on their own accounts and experiences. Black people are the people affected and they have the microphone. Now, it is the job of white people to amplify their voices.