My blog has generally been a place where I turn tragedy into comedy. But the thing is, you can only turn a personal tragedy into comedy. You can’t be like, “oh, ha, ha, the holocaust was so funny,” because there is no way to make that hilarious.
But you CAN be like, “remember when I pooped my pants at work because I saw I was on the FBI’s most wanted list, only to realize that was my evil twin sister and my boss almost fired me because he thought I was her? That was a funny time. Wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone, but it makes a good party story now. That’s why I have so many friends. It’s hard not to have friends when you’re the person who shits yourself at work. People want to be around someone like that. Anyway, what’s your name again?”
The tragedy right now is simple: Black lives matter. And yet, our society still says they don’t.
I have a unique position in this space. I don’t belong fully to either group. Sure, my skin looks white, but, in generations previous, people would have derogatorily referred to me as a “quadroon” (which is offensive because I hate fractions and it sounds like something pirates steal) and I would have been denied the same rights of which I now take full advantage.
Oscar. Trayvon. Michael. Eric. Tamir. Samuel. Walter. Laquan. Freddie. Sandra. Philando. Alton.
These past few days have reaffirmed my non-position in either community. I do not belong to the white people who immediately jump to #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter (they do, but that’s not the point–the point is, we are treating Black Lives like they don’t), nor do I belong to the black community, as I do not have the same fears as they do, nor do I face the same persecutions. I have plenty of fears, all of them irrational, and none of them legitimate.
But I do have passing privilege. Which lets me hear all the racist things white people say when they think no POC is around. It lets me call out that community when they think they’re safe from scrutiny. It’s less hidden now, thanks to the flaking whoopie cushion known as Donald Trump.
So what can White America do? What SHOULD White America do?
White America needs to stop being silent. Look, I get it. Talking about race makes you uncomfortable because YOU didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t own slaves. You didn’t discriminate. You didn’t shoot that kid or that father or that public school employee. But staying silent IS wrong. Whenever a tragedy like that of Philando occurs and you don’t use your social media or your relationships to others to talk about how it’s wrong, you are reinforcing the status quo. Your silence is assent. Your silence allows this violence to continue.
And, as what happened in Dallas shows, violence is NOT the answer. The shootings of Dallas police officers is just as tragic, and is peculiar because it damages the cause and the struggle of the people with whom the shooter identified.
If you are white, and you are blatantly not engaging in discussion about the shootings of Alton and Philando, you are part of the problem. If you focus solely on the violence against police, you are part of the problem. If you don’t engage on social media (liking/disliking/emojiing/posting) in any form in regards to these deaths, you are part of the problem. Silence is approval.
So let’s squeeze out that giant whoopee cushion, get all its fart noises out, and then let the real people talk.
And white people? Sit quiet and listen to our stories, the way you all love to listen to Samuel L. Jackson read this book: