It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written something. I thought for a while it was because I felt too busy or felt too distracted or even just tired. I’m really not sure why I stopped but I know for a fact that in the last few days my desire to write has been very strong. However, every single time I sit to write I come up with nothing except for the three most empty words I can think of- “i am sorry”
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I can write that as many times as I want yet every single time I do I still can’t get the images of unarmed black men and women out of my head. This has haunted me to the point that I can’t ever be sorry enough because I am privileged beyond my own understanding.
I remember about 8 years ago hearing the news of Trayvon Martin. I was 15 at the time. A freshman in high school. He would have been a junior. Trayvon Martin was shot by a white man while he was walking home from a convenience store. I remember seeing the rage of minorities but not even the blink of an eye from others- including myself.
I remember about 6 years ago seeing the news sweep across Twitter of Mike Brown. I was 16 at the time. A junior in high school. He would have been a Senior, we would have been in the same classes together. Mike Brown was walking to a corner store and was shot at a total of twelve times by a white police officer. I remember seeing protests and riots sweep through Ferguson, Missouri. The “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” slogan shouted in the streets. I remember seeing minorities suffer and some uncomfortable shuffling from others- including myself.
I remember about 4 years ago seeing and hearing the heartbreaking news of Alton Sterling. I was 18 at the time, about to start my first year of college. Alton was a man just selling CDs on the street to make some money until he was shot and killed by two white police officers. I remember this sparked mistrust in law enforcement and racial tensions erupted faster than I had ever seen in my life. I remember finally believing in the Black Lives Matter Movement and I remember many people that I knew who were white take a complete stand against the movement. I remember staying silent when I was around them.
I remember going to college and talking to minorities around me asking how I could be an advocate for them. Looking for ways to educate myself about the complicated and important subject of race. How can I love on my black brothers and sisters.
I remember all of these things and more. I remember my black brothers and sisters constantly and literally fight for their life while I stood silent and watched. I remember telling myself that one day I’ll speak up and be that savior.
I’m sorry. Because I believed I could be one. A white savior. The very thing I never wanted to be. And I sit here thinking and stewing about myself that if seeing this horrific video of George Floyd would finally get me to speak up and say something- maybe I am not as great as I thought I was. That I have finally been convinced that I am a sinner, a privileged white person who will never understand what it means to be black, a Christian white male who claims to serve God when it suits me, and yet I still think I can be a savior for race talks.
I’m not an active person on social media. I don’t participate in bandwagons or politics or publicity stunts. And for so long I convinced myself that I would keep all of these beliefs off my profiles and have them stay in my personal life. But I have been sitting here in my thoughts for days, struggling with what it means to move on from this and I discovered that I can’t.
I can’t even imagine what my black brothers and sisters are feeling.
I don’t even know how to text people in my phone who are black about this. I don’t even know what to say. Because I finally understand the impact of what my silence has done.
My white privilege has destroyed my empathy for my brothers and sisters.
Not to say that White privilege doesn’t mean that my life has never been hard, it has been. But my skin color isn’t a factor in my difficulties.
So I am sorry.
Who am I kidding. Sorry isn’t enough. Sorry won’t ever be enough. I honestly don’t know what will be.
But I do make a pledge to you my brothers and sisters that I will not stay silent.
Black lives matter.