As a white man in America, I am embarrassed and disgusted. As a white man in America, I am outraged and scared. As a white man in America, I have no idea what it truly feels like to be black in this country.
As a white man in America, I feel helpless.
I would never pretend to know the struggle. I would never try to empathize with walking a mile in your shoes despite trying to imagine it on a daily basis. I know my pain will forever pale in comparison to someone who is directly affected by injustice, but my heart still hurts.
I am so sickened by the events that have flooded our news channels lately that it has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I feel helpless because of how much hatred is in the hearts of some people. A type of hatred that seems to have no cure.
In 2016, our world is facing serious problems with climate change, terrorism, the upcoming election, and wealth inequality. Yet here we stand. Almost 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, racism is no longer quietly bubbling under the surface. It is erupting more frequently like violent volcanoes and no location seems to be exempt.
To be clear, any form of racism whether bubbling under the surface or blatant expressions are unacceptable. We are at a very pivotal point in our history in a lot of regards, but the way that people were born still finds it’s way to the core of many arguments.
I was blessed to grow up and go to school with people of all races, creeds, and religions from a very young age. Some of my closest friends are black. Some of my closest friends are Muslim. I don’t view them as anything other than people that I care about and would do anything for.
I understand that being a white man is the epitome of “luck” in this country. I understand that as true and don’t pretend otherwise. On the other side of the coin, I realize how sad that is to be considered true, in a country that should be great because of it’s diversity. People have fought, protested, rallied, and their sole mission is to be treated equal.
People who love their guns are always quick to quote the 2nd Amendment verbatim and then make threats as to what they’ll do if anyone tries to “take their guns” (which has never been proposed, by the way). If we are so enamored with the literature written by our Founding Fathers, why doesn’t “All Men Are Created Equal” on the Declaration of Independence get the same enforcement?
Years ago at my job, there was a case where we had a meeting with someone regarding a balance that had to be paid. There was no telephone communication, only e-mail. Apparently the man had a “black sounding name”, which led to the following statement being made before the meeting:
“I guess some stereotypes exist for a reason.”
This wasn’t said behind closed doors. It was said loud and proud in an effort to be funny for all to hear. No matter where or how it happened, it is appalling nonetheless. I stood up and said something about it. I made it clear that that kind of talk wouldn’t be tolerated around me. I was not in a position of power at the time, but I felt like it was the right thing to do.
Now, by no means am I a hero or trying to paint myself as a saint. I am simply using that as an example of what doesn’t happen enough from white people in this country. This isn’t a fight that we can stand back, watch from the sidelines, and cross our fingers that black people finally get the equality that they deserve. This is a fight for all man kind. A fight to come together as a race of humans and solve this racial epidemic once and for all.
This is not the time for white people to be timid or unsure of what to say or do. It is a time to stand with people from all walks of life and let our voices ring out in unison. The status quo hasn’t even been close to good enough. A fundamental change needs to happen. Inexcusable bad habits need to be broken. A new way of thinking needs to be adopted on all levels, and the necessary actions to support it must follow.
It has been refreshing to see pictures and videos of protests across the nation with a multitude of races walking in stride and chanting together. However, there is still a lot of room for more people who aren’t black to show up in solidarity.
As a white man in America, I am exhausted. I am emotionally drained by seeing the senseless killings of black people at the hands of police becoming more commonplace on the news and social media outlets. It makes my blood boil to the point where I don’t watch those murders anymore because of the toll that it takes on me.
As a white man in America, I will stand united with black people coast to coast in the fight for civil rights. I live for the day that every man, woman, and child in this country believe in their heart of hearts that the Declaration of Independence applies to everyone when it says that we were all created equal.