Just. Say. It.
My eyes have been opened to another form of privilege I have been fortunate to receive: Up until this last week, I did not think that I knew anybody racist. Boy, was I wrong ...
I am nearly 33 years old ... And I have been fooled. I knew of certain prejudices here and there ... I knew of differing stances ... But I did not know how many people in my life, were actively participating in racism. Knowingly - and not. Backs are turned. Hearts are hard. Hate is rampant. Even in my tiny circle.
My blog about black lives received more attention than any blog in my blogging history. Real talk: Most posts get somewhere in the 50 view range. Not a huge audience, but the truth is that I write for myself, not for views. I've never (or rarely) reached an audience that wasn't gained from my own Facebook feed. The post about black lives received over 6,000 (and counting) views. I reached strangers. This is not me bragging. I could not take pride in the views, because they came at the price of another man's life - and the despair I carried (along with so many others) in my heart. I tell you this, because I got comments. 18 comments ... All from people I did not know.
I read them all. I responded to them all. And then I disabled comments from my blog. Because WOOF. There were death threats! Not aimed at me, but all the same. Too. Far. The first 4 comments I received were from people who thought that I was black. They wrote me with the misunderstanding that I was black. They directed their comments to me, as though I was black. (Are you getting this?) 3/4 of those comments were hateful. So, in white skin, and from the safety of my own home, I unknowingly created an environment to sample a little bit of the racism that people of color are experiencing. It made my heart race! It made my blood boil!
Racism is real. Just say it. RACISM. IS. REAL.
Put your statistics down for a second, because I have THE statistic. It's an unarguable stat, and you can put it to the test. ASK A FRIEND.
Ask a black friend: Have you experienced racism in your life?
Ask a gay friend: Have you experienced hate in your life?
Ask a Muslim friend: Have you experienced racism in your life, especially post 9/11?
Ask a woman: Has a man ever made you feel unsafe?
Ask a minority - ANY minority: Have you ever been targeted?
Guess what - this statistic gets a 100%! That means yes, every single person that is a minority, has experienced some level of racism, hate, misunderstanding, abuse, or fear. 100%!!! Granted, I haven't actually conducted a formal study, but I can say that everybody that I know that fits under the label of "minority" ... has experienced mistreatment in their life.
Isn't that sad?
Hi, my name is Taylor, and I'm plagued with some sort of people-pleasing disorder, so for the benefit of my naysayers, I will add this: I don't hate the police. In fact, I don't think I even mentioned the police in my black lives post. I don't believe that being furious, or expecting more than heinous murder at the hands of bad policeman, must mean that I hate cops. But for whatever reason, my invisible police hatred was addressed in 75% of my post's comments. Let me say this: I don't. I am so very thankful for the good guys. The guys who swear to serve and protect. The men and women who risk their lives daily to keep us safe. I don't understand why that's been questioned of me or anybody that supports the fact that black lives matter - it seems obvious. But let the record stand: I love the men and women in blue. And my heart broke just as much for the loss in Dallas, as it did for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the Orlando massacre, the attack in Istanbul - and every other senseless tragedy that has happened in this world. I mourn loss. ALL loss. Doesn't that seem like it should be obvious?
I don't know how to conclude this. I'm somewhere between furious, devastated, and exhausted. It is really disappointing to see how divided people are about racism ... And that's from the white side. I can't imagine how much people of color must endure. So to my white friends - whether you believe it exists or not - listen. Listen to the voices of the oppressed. Listen to them, learn from them, and help be part of a solution. We can help. But first we have to listen! Together we could be an unbeatable force!