I’m a white woman, and here’s my opinion that literally no one asked for.
Hi, I am actually half white, but I pass as white. I refer to myself as a “white person” because that’s how society views me.
Throughout my adult life, I have tried to remain as silent as possible about racial issues. The reason for that is (1) I have struggled with a learned helplessness thing; (2) I believed that if I was a vocal person and made some kind of awful blunder, I would be forever dismissed as a phony and a hypocrite; (3) I believed that my speaking out was useless because people didn’t respect my opinions anyway.
I’ll be honest. I don’t want to apply labels like “ally” or anti-racist” to myself. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have the most progressive education in my formative years. I don’t necessarily think that people who call themselves those things are disingenuous, but I can conceive it devolving into a “white savior” complex. Or maybe I am just an asshole. I can’t tell anymore.
So I don’t like the labels, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing I can do. If I keep silent because I am afraid of not saying the right thing, I will say nothing at all. If I don’t act because I am afraid it won’t be enough, I will do nothing at all. I just don’t want to be afraid anymore.
I want to shut up and listen. I want to be better. When it really counts, I want to have the courage to stand up for what’s right.
Law enforcement violence against People of Color is real. Racism is real. It may seem like nothing is getting better. I don’t have the answers, but I hope that as a society we will become more conscious, present, and better-equipped to bring about lasting change.