"We live in a society that has so deeply internalized race, that race, and by extension racism, is at the very core of who we are as a people. As Americans, our history of racism is the story of us. Until we deal with that, we will never coalesce across the divisions that history has created."    

 

         --Barry Johnson 

"cultural appropriation is

putting fireflies in a jar
and letting them light up

your bedroom
as you drift off to sleep.
and when you wake up

all the lights

have flickered out
but only when

you’re older

do you realize
you slowly

suffocated them so
that you could

enjoy their glow."

              --12 Year-Old Girl

                       Atlanta, GA

 

Got a friend that has been coming around for years and he often will tell racial jokes which I have found some to be funny but for the most part they are not funny. So here we are at the end of Applachian Trail Days and he's been here sll weekend selling his hiking books and he needs to get a shower before leaving town so he drops in.

 

So on the front porch arrives two hikers and one is black. Since there is someone in the shower my buddy parks his ass on the front porch and so do these hiker youngin's. Almost immediately my buddy starts in with racial bullshit and it is obvious to me the black kid is getting upset but he dicides to laugh it off and return some fire on my buddy.

 

I had to go back into the house to do something but I decided that I was gonna say my piece about it. So I step back out and here there is a whole racial conversation going on with everyone laughing but all I heard was strained laughter, even though everyone was laughing the scene was uncomfortable. I got busy and I told my buddy it was uncalled for the racial bullshit right off the gate, he was trying to tell me I had it wrong, I mean bullshit, the hell I have it wrong and needless to say he hopped in his car and drove off.

The black kid told me that even though he was not offended and that he was dishing it right back at him because he had plenty of practice at it he said thank you man for what you said, for making a stand.

We live in a racial society and I do not have a clue as to how this is going to be overcome or how to go about it but we have to step up even when it's scary and do the right things. This could of gone south on me I am glad it didn't.........                                                 - Larry Riddle

 

Growing up, the spectre of race never really entered my sphere. I had friends with dark skin, but the topic of them being black had never come up. I never had to edit my speech around them, never had any fear that they would be offended by anything I said or did, and vice versa.

 

Then I went into the Marines. After awhile, I began to notice that the black recruits avoided me, and when they didn't, they were openly hostile. It came to a head one day during kitchen duty. I was in the scullery with a black recruit and we were goofing around, and I said something, I forget exactly what, but I will never forget his reply.

 

"You call me Boy again and I swear I will beat your ass. "

I was shocked. What followed was a long conversation about why the black recruits hated me, and what reality was for black people. It was the end of innocence. When I was a kid, when you were joking around with your buddies, the word "boy" was uttered quite often, something of a jibe to signify you hadn't reached manhood yet, I suppose. A mild joking insult.

 

I did not, until that day, know the significance of that word to the twenty odd black recruits from the South, who apparently thought I was a confederate flag waving, pillowcase-wearing racist.

I spent some time, later that day, apologizing to some people.

                                                                    -Don Boucher 

..

 

Charles wrote:

"Whites have to be willing to be ridiculed---even despised and possibly worse---among their own race and social circles before white culture can evolve beyond racism. And that's precisely what they're afraid to do. I'm the only person in my peer-group who argues against racism where I work. Those I've worked with run the gamut from the silent racists; and the wink-wink, nudge-nudge racists; to the tellers of racist jokes---but they all behave themselves in the presence of black people. Sadly, to a man, they would all consider themselves non-racist, if asked. And that's a huge part of the problem."

. I experienced some serious racism this weekend right in my own back yard during a pig roast. My husband had invited some if his friends that he had grown up with in east Germany. They stayed the whole weekend. Little did I know that one of them was a nazi sympathizer. He had the nerve to start making nasty comments about, jews, africans, and foreigners in general while sitting on my porch, in my garden! No one else realized what was going on until I got up and to,d that guy I was going to put him on the spit with the pig, if he didn't shut his mouth. The whole incident caused me to have chest pains. Everyone else was shocked. I have found that no matter I go in the world there is racism, I have also found that there is also love. Sometimes it is really hard to stay positive, especially when you have to deal with hate often. To all of you who experience the ugliness of racism, I wish you strength and endurance.

                                                                       -Claire Kaiser

 

 

 

Do you have racist friends? I do. How does it make me feel, bad of course. They don't have any Black friends other than me, I'm tired of hearing "I like you, you're not like those other Black people." What are those other Black people?
It's hard for people to wrap their heads around it because they know Black people so they are not racist. My own mother doesn't like Black people, she will hold on to her purse tightly when she sees them, she doesn't trust them, nor does she like them. How does that make me feel or the rest of my family. She married a Black man! She had 3 kids for him. My father's whole family treated her with love and wanted to keep her close. What does she do, run as far away from my family as possible.
While you may tolerate me as Black person, why not tolerate my brothers and sisters too.

                                                -Antoinette Rootsdawtah

I don't give a dayum how many police of any race beats or kills an individual of any race... We STILL have a deep rooted issue of racism with whites hating blacks & blacks hating whites that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the police or our "justice" system. But, once we come to a resolution with the issues of the police & gov't only then will the racial divide begin to mend because ppl will no longer allow the "law", media or gov't system to further dictate their thoughts & control their minds thru fear & subliminal messages. Old beliefs MUST be replaced with new beliefs & those beliefs MUST be based on personal experiences rather than what someone "told" you. Hatred is so deeply embedded into the DNA of american society because of stories, myths, teachings & actions of previous generations. The 1st step is acceptance, not incurring the blame, but accepting the fact that not only do we have an issue... these things happened & are STILL currently happening in our present lives. One can ever accept what is being denied & you can NEVER change what you avoid or refuse to confront.

                                          -Micah Shawn Parkerson Sr

"I was about 7. I did know what that word meant but I knew it fell into the realm of kid bad words so I thought I would use it and sound cool. The best thing that happened was I tried out my new word around my dad. He heard me say that and came totally unhinged...I will never forget it. "WE DON'T USE THAT WORD IN OUR HOUSE!" 

 

At that time in my life I don't know if I had even see a black person. But I did watch television and I did get an "idea" what racism was. 

 

When I got into high school I learned about history and racism, but it all seemed so absurd to me that I couldn't possibly believe that people would dislike anyone because of skin color. I assumed that nonsense MUST be over because who could be that cruel to another human being.

 

To me that was something that just happened a long time ago. Considering my life experiences and the town I came from....I never saw anyone BE racist to another person.

 

I was truly ignorant. It took college and a few more years working in the public schools to solidify the fact that it is STILL a HUGE problem.

 

What I also realized is that I have no conception of what racism is like and it was hard for me to wrap my mind around it. In my mind it was wrong so why would anybody be racist?

 

It was illogical."

                                                         -Paula Spaulding

Hey, white folks!

 

You don't have to feel guilty about being white. I don’t feel guilty about being white. I didn’t chose the body I was born in, or the society, I didn’t have a say in what my ancestors did or did not do. Besides, I’ve never heard a black person ask white people to feel GUILTY about being white.

 

If you hear about something racist and you get upset, that’s different. You SHOULD get upset. It should make you uncomfortable. Congratulations, that means you aren’t a sociopath. But that doesn’t mean you get a “pass” and don’t have to listen to it, talk about it, or be part of changing it because it makes you uncomfortable. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE GUILTY TO BE RESPONSIBLE.

 

If you see someone lying in the road who was hit by a car, you don't have to stop and help. You didn't make the street, you weren't driving the car, you aren't guilty of running anyone over, but you are in some way complicit if you turn your back or pretend you don't see. And the fact that you have the choice to do something or not, means you are more fortunate than the person lying in the road. Or shall we say, "privileged". Racism works the same way.

 

I’m white. I’m responsible for doing something about racism. Because I’m the one that's HERE, not my ancestors, ME. So can the whining about feeling guilty or uncomfortable. That doesn't help anything. DO something.  

                                                                   --Kirsten Faisal

 

I'm driving home from the store and a neighbor flags me down before I can round the corner to "warn" me that my son (almost 14) is down at the street talking with some folks who saw  our For Rent sign. 

 

Apparently, this neighbor had already pulled my son aside to ask if he was OK, to which he responded sure, he was just giving them some info. The neighbor then looked at me very knowingly and said "they don't seem like the kind of people you'd really want to rent to."

 

I thanked him and hurried home to find my son just ending his conversation with a very nice black woman and her son, driving a nice car (not that it should matter). Turns out, I even knew the woman because she used to work at a store I went to often.

 

The house wound up being out of her price range but damn if I don't want to go out of my way now to rent to a black family. Then again, it might not be fair to subject them to my redneck neighbors. 

 

 

Susan Lynne Mehalick

 

Malcolm X on White Allies and one White Man’s Perspective:

 

I have been studying Malcolm X for the past couple of weeks. I got interested in him because I remember him as an icon of the civil rights movement of the 60’s. I don’t know much more about the man other than that and the small amount I have read over the last few days. What I read from his writing on White Allies inspired me, because he describes what African-Americans need from “sincere whites.” For example, there is this excerpt from The Autobiography of Malcolm X:

 

"America's racism is among their own fellow whites. That's where sincere whites who really mean to accomplish something have got to work (…) Aside from that, I mean nothing against any sincere whites when I say that as members of black organizations, generally whites’ very presence subtly renders the black organization automatically less effective."

 

Wait a minute. I’m a sincere white!

 

First I want to make a sincere attempt to address my Black brothers and sisters: 
 

As I write this post from my ex-wife’s house nestled in the suburbs of Portland Oregon, I realize that you ‘could’ be reading it from your home in the projects--your refrigerator empty, babies crying, and shots being fired outside. If that sounds like a lame description of your circumstances, it probably exemplifies my point. I don’t have a lot of experience in that world. What am I going to say to you that even matters?

 

Over and over I hear you, my fellow humans of color in this Healing Videos Facebook group calling out for help.

 

Now I want to address my white brothers and sisters who

are also sincere:
 

My white brothers and sisters we have white ways. We also have power among our white peers who are causing damage to our African American brothers and sisters. Yes, many of us see the suffering of our fellow humans of color.

 

Now is not the time to beat ourselves up because we have lived comfortably in a system designed to oppress minorities. Now is the time to use our "white power"--so to speak--to stop the violence toward our fellow humans of color!

 

Who really cares about having peace in a Facebook group anyways?

 

There are real live humans sitting on the other ends of these posts with real life circumstances.

 

I care. Because there is a part of me that can relate a little to our brothers and sisters of color. Especially their despair about what police are doing to their loved ones, families and communities. 

 

Many years ago, my cousin Jackie Earl died in the Sebastian County jail in Ft Smith, Arkansas. He had a pretty healthy cocaine addiction. The cops busted him one night and took him to jail. Long story short, they let him lie in his cell and die. He had swallowed a bag while being pulled over and it busted in his stomach. And the cops knew it!

 

So now, go with me here for a moment. If there was a Facebook group for Sebastian County cops and families of the dead they killed to promote healing, I wouldn't want to put too much energy into "making friends" with any of the cops--even the nice well-meaning cops--until I knew something was being done to stop the violence in the Sebastian County jail in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. I would not feel better by discussing too much of my own personal shortcomings until something was done that I could see.

 

I truly believe that some of the more vocal people in this group are simply asking for that kind of real help.

 

The question now is what do we awakened powerful white people do? If there is something missing in your life, If you are bored with the wife and kids or you are going through a mid-life crisis and you believe you have lived your best years, perhaps it's time to take up a cause. If you are a golfer, get a golf game with a police officer and talk to them about the violence against African Americans and how it must stop. If you are a suburban housewife, bake a bunch of cakes and throw a big-ass party for all of your husband's business associates and talk about ending subtle racism in the workplace. I’m sure the Baptist church will donate its vestibule for a nice party. (I'm sure that sounded sexist and antireligious and I do apologize. My dear white mother is both a housewife and a Baptist and I love her very much.) If you pray, have a prayer meeting and ask the Lord to intervene for our African American babies that are killing each other in the street.

 

I guess my point is: do something. Even if it's nerdy and stiff and “white as all get-out”, still go and do it. We'll feel better doing what we do as white people.

 

We are not “evil devils”. But we’re sure acting like it when we sit on our ass and pay cops to kill black people..

                                                             -Robert Ellison                                            

"I have my daughter to thank for opening my eyes to the racism that I carried that I didn't even realize I carried....so this is my statement.

 

I wasn't really raised around any other culture but white in my home town. I heard a lot of racism from my mother and I thought she was nuts but I also didn't realize how much of her rants went in my head and colored my vision.

 

Until the one day my daughter (I think she was around 10) brought home a new friend an African American friend.

 

I felt a bit uncomfortable but didn't show it. I didn't like what I felt. It was like all my mothers rants were now raising their ugly heads. to make a long story short this young girl became my daughters best friend (20 yrs later they still are BFF's).

 

When we would all go out together I saw the looks the side glances that people would give me and after awhile I would smile and say yes they are both my daughters.

 

I'm grateful for this young lady coming into my life as it gave me the chance to sit down and talk to her and her family and over the course of the years. I met numerous other people and got to know them as being no different than me. Yes there were cultural differences but that was ok. 

 

Slowly but surely my mothers rants subsided and I got to a point where I was no longer uncomfortable around anyone no matter where they came from.

 

I also got to feel the uncomfortableness of being the target of racism when i had to go to a hospital in an area that didn't like native people.

 

Like I said I was raised white even though i have native heritage. Once they realized I wasn't having a heart attack , they basically stuck me in a room and left me there. Noone came to check on me and when I asked if anyone was coming they just looked at me and said why? It was the first time I had ever been treated like that and it sucked. I had never before felt that feeling that because of my nationality I wasn't a worthwhile person.

 

People are people and we need to break these barriers that have divided us as human beings. We need to all come together and fight for humanity for ALL.

 

I'm glad that my eyes were opened and my racism was shown to me so that I could choose differently. I choose not to be racist and closed minded to those around me and it has opened my heart to be a more compassionate person."

 

                                                                   -Cheyenne B.

                                                                London, Ontario                                            

 

 

 

It’s one thing to hear about these shootings of unarmed black men. It’s another to have a close friend shot by a racist cop.

We have a long road to equality, but here's the beautiful news, the simple fact that this conversation is happening outside of liberal academia, that everyday people from all different backgrounds are posting videos and having an open discussion about this - it means that it’s possible to reach most people, and that we can heal as a country.

Hopefully soon, we can start having a more nuanced discussion, but for now this is really as close to a breakthrough as I've ever seen.”               

                                                                      --Josh Romig

 

 

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