#WakeUpWednesday: The Role of White People in Black Killings

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Hello and welcome to #WakeUpWednesday, a segment where I scream into the blackhole of social media about things we should know. Last week on IG we discussed the role of white people in the recent, highly publicized, black murders. You can view the whole conversation in my highlights.


Actual things I have heard people say:
"I'm white, it's not my place to [step up, speak out, march, fight] about Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery."
The response:

1. The recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have reminded us of a very, very big American problem. If either of them were white they would be alive. And if either of them where white and murdered in circumstances like this, there would have been charges immediately. Ahmaud's murderers were charged after significant public pressure MONTHS later, Breonna's murderers TBD- it's been a month. This is a really familiar story and it just keeps happening. The pattern here is racism (systemic, institutionalized, blatant, etc), and the racism that causes/allows this is a white problem. Look, I know none of us directly caused this, but these constructs are created by, enabled by, maintained by white people and white systems. The only people who can stop them are...white people.

2. Processing these murders and living with the trauma is enough. White people need to bear some of this load. The whole article is important but a few stats:
When experiencing microaggressions, the target loses vital mental resources trying figure out the intention of one committing the act. These events may happen frequently, making it difficult to mentally manage the sheer volume of racial stressors. The unpredictable and anxiety-provoking nature of the events, which may be dismissed by others, can lead to victims feeling as if they are “going crazy.” Chronic fear of these experiences may lead to constant vigilance or even paranoia, which over time may result in traumatization or contribute to PTSD when a more stressful event occurs later.

Almost one in ten Black people becomes traumatized, and these rates may actually be higher since diagnosticians are usually not considering the role of racism in causing trauma.  

3. The New York Times did a study and found that black teenagers experience an average of five instances a day of racial discrimination - that is 70 over the course of two weeks. That's...unacceptable. Speak up, for the kids.

 "It's hard for me to talk about racism, I'm afraid I'll say the wrong thing!"
The response:

Yes. These conversations are not easy and are uncomfortable because the system is built that way. This interview with the author of White Fragility breaks down what makes it so hard for us to talk about this, and how white people can be more aware and better at having conversations about race.

 "How do I learn more to get better at these conversations?" 
The response:

Here's a #crowdsourced reading list:

Here are some great Instagram accounts to follow: 

And a quick guide

We had a whole interesting conversation on IG (you can view it in my #WakeUp highlight), and this comment got the most reactions, definitely worth thinking about:

Alright, that's a wrap. Thanks for reading through - please share any resources and thoughts!

Post a Comment

Love to hear your thoughts and opinions, let's chat!