Dear white people, about Philando Castille
Dear white people, You know how horrible you felt when North Korea killed Otto Warmbier? You know how you kept thinking that could have been your kid? How you went and told stories about that movie Midnight Express and thought about all the stupid mistakes your kid made growing up and thanked God that at least he/she made those mistakes here where they were protected and not in some “foreign country” which did not privilege them? You know how you thought that if only there was some way of warning young people about the dangers of travel to “certain” places it would all be allright? Well that’s the way black and brown people, and maybe SOME who are in solidarity with them (still very much a work in progress) feel when OUR cops working for OUR country killed Philando Castille (and so many more, so very many more) and OUR jury failed to convict except, of course, it isn’t happening in a foreign country. It is happening here and there is nowhere they can go to escape it. They do warn their children with “the talk” and more, but it makes no difference. They can do everything right, just like Philando Castillo and so many others did everything right, and they will still be killed. What is worse, most of their white neighbors and co-workers and, dare I say, friends don’t even see it, let alone care. Until his life matters just as much TO US as Otto’s life, until we are just as outraged by the way our police and our courts and our prisons and our government all conspire to kill black and brown kids, often for nothing, as we are about foreign governments killing white kids for stupidity the horror will continue. So what are you willing to do today? Are you willing to at read this post and give it some thought? Are you willing to ask yourself these questions? Are you willing to talk to your friends and family about it? Don’t go apologizing to black or brown people. They are tired of hearing it. Don’t bother them at all. Bother US. We have work to do in our own families and communities. Let’s get on it.
I recently participated in a book group studying Racism in America at my white Presbyterian church in Florida. It was an education. We read “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” the Letter from Birmingham Jail, “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin and more. We talked, we learned a lot. But I don’t know how to translate that into action, other than donating to the ACLU, the SPLC, participating in women’s marches, and sharing what I deeply believe with others. I’ve been angry for so long about racism, even though I’m a white woman. I grew up with it and despised my family for their hatreds. Even our preachers (many of them good people) won’t risk telling the truth. I’m 70 years old and thought it would be so much better by now. It breaks my heart. Maybe we need to talk to people about sitting on these juries – what does it mean to allow a murderer to walk away? What does it mean to their conscience, their internal compass? How will they live with themselves? Sorry – too many words and not enough action. Please keep preaching.
June 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm
Did your study group include People of Color? Sit with them, earn their trust (the books are good, but not enough), and let them tell you how to help. Speak up every time you hear idiocy spoken.
June 22, 2017 at 3:07 pm
I too am a white woman, when I was 19 and had my biracial daughter, my parents told younger family members I was babysitting. I was kicked out of apartments when they realized my boyfriend was black. I too hate racism. For some reason I never felt it, but like you grew up amongst it. I felt so bad about the trial verdict in the murder of Philando Castile. I also worry about my 15 year old black grandson, now son I adopted. Thank you for sharing this. I’m with you, it needs to be discussed in the white community.
June 27, 2017 at 12:27 am
THANK YOU !!! That was DEEP !
June 21, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Thanks as always – I gotta share
June 22, 2017 at 5:23 am
So very, sadly true. Thank you.
June 22, 2017 at 3:04 pm
Not sure how to respond, other than to say “Thank-you for keeping the pressure on.” I will preach on this to help draw my congregation’s attention to the racist attitudes that persist not just in the US, but in Canada as well.
June 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm