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June 12, 2020

White Folks: What it Means about You if you’re Getting Defensive about BLM.

It is not in support of BLM if the discussion entertains other notions, creating a lack of focus on black lives and their voices, again. It is that simple.

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Hello all,

I wrote a piece (“Repeat After Me: My White Feelings Don’t Matter. Black Lives Matter.“) this week that was born out of hot anger.

It has gotten 3,000 views and just under 2,000 shares—which was not quite what was in mind while writing or posting the article. It is essential that the piece is clarified, for which I am responsible.

Hence, this is an article that aims to share a few crucial points in regard to that theme. This article is not a retraction, yet to clarify meaning is essential.

Firstly, anybody who felt targeted, insulted, threatened, and defensive due to the gravity of what was said, in forethought, it seems this means one of three things (or all three).

It could indicate one’s need for self-work and education, for instance, if one chooses to preach that “light-skinned people have hard lives too.” It is essential to mention that BLM does not push the idea that no one else matters, or that there is zero life struggle for anybody else. That is ridiculous.

The movement of BLM is to uplift and support a group of human beings out of racial oppression, and to reject and detest the system and belief practice that has bought us here.

The injustice, loss, and deep systemic oppression faced by BIPOC is senseless and absurd, and I cannot believe this is a conversation we are still having.

Events of other oppressed groups in history—anything discriminatory, socially unjust, and repugnant that is current, historical, or from personal experience—need not be compared to BLM. I see a lot of “but this” or “but that.” Oppression is not measured. That argument is juvenile and invalid.

BLM is about BIPOC, and this is their time—and their time only. They will have that—non-negotiable.

Are you curious? Do you not understand?

Look and listen. Explore their pain, their anger, their loss, their outcry for change. Listen. Raise their voices—be it on social media or in conversation.

I ask, Is your feed more important? Is keeping it comfortable more important? These are the questions you must ask yourself. Educate, educate, educate.

To take the stance and preach that “All lives matter” does not only take the focus off BLM, but states that BIPOC individually or as a group do not deserve attention, respect, eyes, ears, and action. That is so wildly incorrect—period.

Do you care about something else? Are you angry about something else? Good for you; BLM is not the platform. BLM is for BIPOC. The fact is, anything that gives rise to something other than BLM is not for BLM.

The instantly defensive, personally attacked response can translate to bigotry, and considering that particular piece grouped everyone with light skin into “white people are…,” may it communicate to you the slightest inkling of what racism could feel like.

A defensive response could also be a lack of awareness of one’s prejudices and wrongdoings—moreover, that one is incapable of being aware and honest with themselves in the conversation around racism. Alternatively, it is a learnt affliction of defending a belief in “your people”—a “white tribe” response.

The fact is we are all each other’s people.

Scientifically, the evidence confirming difference amid the human race is unquestionably zero. We have all come from the same place, and that is Africa. Plus, nobody “discovered” anything. Skin colour only reflects the levels of melanin in the body—look it up. We are the Human Race. One race, rich and diverse in culture, religion, belief, and colour.

White is not right—nor, frankly, is it real. We grow up trained and indoctrinated into this dogma. We all bleed, breathe, love, and lose as brothers and sisters.

To call out white people is something we all understand; it is something that generates clicks and something inherent to the change and movement of the current systems in place. Why? Not because white people hold great importance or genius, not at all, but because of what “white” means to me:

White is to kill, abuse, and lie for power. White is the KKK. White is in support of everything racially and culturally discriminative—because, “white is right.” White is symbolic of superiority, of “clean and pure,” as if nothing else ever was, could ever be, or is. White is branding. And from where I stand, “White” is anyone who is complicit in, or actively resists the radical upheaval of the current systems. Which, honestly, means you are a racist, overtly or not. Hear that loudly.

It could also equate self-centredness, an inability to look beyond oneself. Is the focus on personal guilt? Is it weakly, “Oh, but I take responsibility now, I am sorry now, I am not a racist!” This position is selfish and narrow-minded—grasping for a shred of “dignity” that one considers more important than the voices of BIPOC.

It is not in support of BLM if the discussion entertains other notions, creating a lack of focus on black lives and their voices, again. It is that simple.

Feel, sit in, and talk about white guilt somewhere else. These are important conversations to have within your circles. Take the time to look at yourself in the mirror. Feel your shit, that is essential. What does your heart beat for, if not for the good of all humanity? This is deeply private work.

What remains the same is that the movement of BLM does not centre you, your feelings about race, your apology, or your feelings about the movement. It centers the lives of BIPOC, their voices, and bringing an overdue end to the system that has for a millennium unjustly f*cked over an entire populace because of their skin colour. It is diabolically ridiculous. And for what? Why? Not to mention, still?

Right in the heart of BLM live the peaceful protests, the demand for systemic change, the marches for justice over the lives taken by a disgraceful, prejudiced system. This is a centuries-in-the-making movement that must be the final gambit for their fundamental human rights, their fight for human rights. In the heart of BLM is pain and suffering—this is an outcry. Our humanity is on the line here, so where do you choose to stand?

The choices, the actions, and the work the light-skinned populace chooses to do, that positively and directly impacts the BIPOC community, is imperative.

How do you do this?

>> You listen.
>> You use the world of Instagram and follow, follow, follow.
>> Share BIPOC creatives and intellectuals.
>> Share resources.
>> Put your money into foundations run by BIPOC.
>> You self educate, and you unlearn.

Before a but is even uttered—stop.

How could there ever be a but in “Black Lives Matter?”

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Aria Stanton  |  Contribution: 3,835

author: Aria Robilliard-Stanton

Image: Obi Onyeador / Unsplash

Editor: Kelsey Michal