I’ve been working on an essay about #BlackLivesMatter for two years now, and every time I think I’ve finished it, another black person is killed for being black.
Last night, the 2nd black man to be shot for being black by police in 24 hours was murdered live on Facebook. I saw it. I didn’t want to see it, but Facebook autoplays now, and I saw it.
I watched Philando Castile die on social media.
I don’t know what to do with that. I am a white woman with all the privilege that being white provides me. I have the fucking privilege of not having to worry that I will be shot, or my kids will be shot, simply because of our skin. (My Smartner is brown and has to worry, but he’s not black, and there is privilege in that, too.)
I feel complicit in the murder of these men. These fathers. Because I am white.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I lay there, my white face on my stupid fucking pillow, thinking about that child watching Philando die. Thinking about the police officers—standing right next to the people they shot—and doing nothing as they died. Thinking about all the people that do nothing as black men and women and children die for being black.
Whiteness makes white folks complicit in a system that allows white people to kill black people with impunity. We aren't getting shot during routine traffic stops for being white. We benefit from that system. If we stay silent, we are responsible. Silence makes us complicit.
We have to say something. How can we not? We have to do something. How can we not?
All of this senseless death because of systemic racism that goes ignored or unacknowledged. It is real. How can anyone say it isn't real?
People are dying because people refuse to acknowledge that #BlackLivesMatter.
I have yet to figure out what the best thing to do is, but I will do something. Even if it only starts with writing this essay and publishing it on our website. I can start here. I can start by speaking out on behalf of people whose safety isn't as promised as mine.
It's small. Too small. But it's a start. And I will do more.
People are dying. We don't get to do nothing. We don't get to allow our discomfort with talking about race and privilege keep us from helping. We don't get to watch in silent horror. We have to do something.*
I will take this anger and this heartbreak and this feeling of helplessness and turn it into action. I will not be silent.