Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What you're asking us to believe about #Ferguson

Image source.
When Facebook and Twitter started blowing up with news about Mike Brown's death, a lot of white people were saying we all just need to calm down and don't assume anything, and wait for more information.

Protesters were saying that the Brown had been shot and killed because he was black, and the Ferguson police department didn't care because he was black.

It's hard for us white people to believe that. How, in the year 2014, could there be racism in America so strong that it is deadly?

You're asking us to believe that American police officers can get away with murder if the victim is black. That's unimaginable. Literally unimaginable. So we said no, it can't be. There must be some explanation. Let's wait for more information.

After a lifetime of living as part of the majority culture in America, unaware of any effects of racism, believing that the US is such a great nation full of equality and opportunity for everyone, we're being told that it's not true.

You're asking us to believe that the American justice system is racist and rotten to the core. We thought everything was fine; we thought we lived in a "post-racial society" where we should be colorblind. We learned about Martin Luther King Jr in school, how he solved the segregation problems. And now you're asking us to believe the demon of racism is still alive and is literally killing people. Isn't it easier just to believe Darren Wilson was acting in self-defense?

Surely once more facts come out, we'll find some less horrible explanation.

You're asking us to believe that those awful, racist things we read about in our history books still happen today.

You're asking us to believe there is no justice for people of color.

You're asking us to believe that police departments routinely cover up the facts about black men being killed by cops.

Surely it was just some kind of simple misunderstanding, not a disease that runs all the way to the heart of what America is.

When #BlackLivesMatter is trending on Twitter, you're telling us that we live in a culture that to a dangerous extent holds on to the monstrous idea that black lives do not matter.

You're asking us to believe that the United States of America, the land of the free, the greatest nation on this planet, etc etc, has a plague of human rights violations. You're telling us that white supremacy is alive and is a core component of American culture. You're telling us that in the nation that was founded on the idea of freedom, it is not safe to be a black man existing in public.

It can't be true. No, let's just wait for more facts.

You're accusing American culture of horrible, horrible things. Of not valuing black people's lives. How can we believe that?

Image source.
But you better believe it, white people, because it's true.

It's easy to dismiss one story. Maybe a black person misunderstood the situation and made it all about race when it really wasn't, made a big deal when nothing bad actually happened. It's easy to believe that, when you just hear it from one person.

But now I've heard it hundreds and hundreds of times. Now I believe it. 

Now I believe in racism.


Recommended reading for those who don't believe in racism:

I Hope My Son Stays White

Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up

When white friends don’t believe what blacks go through, they’re not friends

Will White Evangelicals Ever Acknowledge Systemic Injustice? (Part 1)  and part 2

White privilege checklist

A list of unarmed Blacks killed by police

1 In 3 Black Males Will Go To Prison In Their Lifetime, Report Warns

Criminal Justice Fact Sheet (from NAACP)

Mike Brown: Facts and dog whistles

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown Shows How Black People Are Portrayed in Mainstream Media

America Is Not For Black People


  1. This is an excellent look on the other side of the fence and a great starter for conversation. Thank you!

  2. Jeez, it was eye-opening just to read "I Hope My Son Stays White" and then see at the end the blisteringly racist comments that some people feel okay posting on Ebony magazine's site!!!