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August 15, 2017

An Open Letter to Everyone who Isn’t White.

This isn’t about guilt—but it is about attempting to right a wrong.

I don’t expect to be able to have my voice roar louder than the messages of hate that we are currently seeing plastered on our social media, but I also refuse to remain silent and pretend that nothing is happening.

I’m sorry that, unfortunately, white privilege still exists.

Perhaps I could chose to live in an idealized little world and believe that we have come so far from the days of slavery and separate water fountains that the idea of white privilege doesn’t exist—but I can’t.

I don’t agree with it—but I can’t argue the fact that it does still exist.

I’m sorry that, regardless of gender, those who are born with lighter skin have an innate privilege that those who are from other ethnic backgrounds aren’t given. I know it’s not fair that you might get followed around a store while I shop casually, uninterrupted. If I get pulled over by police late at night, I won’t be told to get out of my car, and it’s likely that I won’t receive a ticket at all.

When I apply for jobs, I know that, in many instances, even if my employer isn’t aware that they are doing it, they look at my light skin, blonde hair, and green eyes, and rank my physical features higher than yours.

It’s disgusting that you will have to work harder than me just to prove yourself. And I’m sorry for those in this country that still make you feel like you will never be good enough simply because of the color of your skin.

I’m sorry that you feel like a second-class citizen in your own home.

While we have come far from the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the reality is that you will still be treated differently within this country just because your skin is a different color.

I could say that skin color doesn’t matter to me—which it doesn’t—but that also doesn’t change the fact that for so many, it does. Being open and discussing issues of race doesn’t mean that we don’t see one another’s differences, but it does mean that we know they hold no consequence as to who we are as people.

I wish that I could say we all enjoy equal rights, but sadly, as evidenced by the police shootings of unarmed black men such as Philando Castile and the recent events at the Unite the Right rally, it’s clear that we don’t.

Just because we have seen a black president doesn’t mean that racism or preferential treatment of those with light skin doesn’t still exist within our world. Not everyone feels this way, and from the outrage over events like the one we saw this weekend, it’s clear that people are standing up and speaking out. But, unfortunately, it seems that hate breeds faster than love.

I’m sorry that you are still being treated as a stereotype.

While we have seen movies, like “Hidden Figures,” that attempt to break the racial and gender stereotypes that our culture has bought into for far too long, it’s still not enough. There is a definable difference in the way that black and white characters are portrayed on television and through the media.

You never see a Nicholas Sparks movie about two African Americans sharing a beautiful love story. Instead, we perpetuate the gang-banger, baby momma, welfare stereotype through the patronization of films and books that do just that.

I understand that they can be entertaining in their own right, but they also serve a cultural purpose of keeping you down—and that is something that will never change until we permanently change the way we see all races.

I wish that it was possible for anyone to not be judged by the clothing that they choose to wear or the music that they listen to. Unfortunately, because of racial profiling and the buy-in of certain stereotypes, many of you are still being confined to the boxes that others have created for you.

I’m sorry that you are still hearing phrases like “white supremacy.”

There is no excuse for hate, ever. There is no reason to ever patronize these rallies like the one we recently saw in Virginia, but clearly, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen.

I can’t pretend to understand what was in the minds of these hateful people as they marched, yelled, and even resorted to physical violence, but I do know that you don’t deserve that—ever.

It seems that lately I feel like apologizing for my race—for their prejudice, their short sightedness, and for belonging to a demographic group that has sought to oppress yours for decades, if not longer.

There is no room for hate in our world and, while it seems the haters are the minority—which possibly is what bothers them so much—it also seems that they have forgotten where they have come from.

Unless we are of Native American heritage, none of us come from America.

This is not our motherland, but rather, we traveled here—sometimes legally, sometimes not. But, we came, all the same, in search of the same thing—a better life.

Yet, once here, it seems that some forgot that to live in this country is a privilege, in and of itself—not a right.

Perhaps most of all, I’m sorry that we have let you down.

I can’t make up for all the hate, but I can take a stand against it.

I don’t expect to get a thank you or a pat on the back, but I do think it’s time that someone actually steps up and says, “We’re f*ckin’ sorry for how we are treating you in this country.”

So, let me be the one to say that I am glad you are here, and that despite all the reasons to, you never actually give up.

I’m appreciative of your differences, whether you’re African American, Muslim, Jewish, transgender, gay, a political refugee, or an undocumented Mexican immigrant because you bring diversity, intelligence, creativity, and integrity to these United States that so many of us want to make even better.

We wouldn’t be the country that we are without you.

I hope that we do better—not just for you—but for all of us, because we are so much better than this.

~

Author: Kate Rose
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Twitter
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

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