An Open Letter to my White Friends Who Have Been Silent

Do I question if writing this anonymously is the answer? Yes, I do. Maybe there will be a time where attaching my name is essential.

But today, I just want this message to be heard.

After viewing George Floyd’s murder, I was quickly compelled to speak out on my social media platforms. It was like a lightbulb, a switch I knew I needed to turn on a being okay with not looking back.

My thoughts then shifted to my silent white friends and family on those same platforms almost a week later.

I think, how does it appear to the Black friends watching us, and they are saying they are tired from experiencing racism their whole lives and hoping we are in the fight with them?

I’m Listening Now

I am learning the importance that I didn’t listen sooner. But now, I am listening and bringing voices and faces of color into my mainly white social media. When examining my childhood, I recognize I did not learn about race and history like I should have. I am trying to reach those I know with my voice. The most significant hurdle I am facing now is how do I reach out to white friends and family who have not communicated on any platform, or acknowledged Black Lives Matter, or engaged in any posts of mine regarding the issue, or have only shared memes or articles about the riots. These reactions seem tone-deaf and isolating to me.

My Background

I grew up in an area where all of my friends and family were white and Catholic in my small town outside of New Orleans. My parents never addressed race, for the most part, in a positive or negative light. I was taught to love Jesus and be a good Catholic. However, there was minimal language regarding words of guidance for loving, accepting, and embracing others who did not look like me.

I was never educated in my all-girls predominantly white high school about the history of racism.

I only based my thoughts on one-sided views without ever trying to understand and question those outdated views well into my teens and 20’s. I know now that was not right.

Searching for Truth

As I approach my late 30’s, I’ve sought out the truth that I felt I did not have access to growing up in my small town.

I take responsibility for my past micro-aggressions and the use of stereotypes and recognize that I should have vocalized and stopped those behaviors within myself and others.

I realize after the events of this week, it is not acceptable to be silent. I need to be anti-racist.

There are so many resources being shared by Black women and mothers, men, and activists sharing their experiences with racism. I watch videos of Black mothers having the talk with their children close in age to mine, and my heart breaks. Especially if my inactions have contributed to this narrative. As a mother, if these have not touched your heart to be a voice of anti-racism, that is just something I don’t understand.

I do recognize that everyone’s voices will come at a different time and place, but please start somewhere. Ask the hard questions of yourself and do the work!

Recognizing this starts with me, I have sought out the necessary tools and books to teach both myself and my child, as well as organizations that will benefit the most from my donations, voting for change and slowly speaking out, sometimes stumbling.

The only way we can have all lives matter is if Black lives matter NOW! And ask yourself if you have a knee jerk reaction to be against this movement, do you want to learn how not to?


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