“Dear White People”; Part 1

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[Climate March, NYC, September 21, 2014]

An overheard conversation between two white college-aged men in Davis Square Friday night after a protest march re the Eric Garner and Ferguson grand jury decisions—an eight-mile, thousand-people-strong march organized by Tufts students: “Yeah, well, if you’re going to be an ally, be an ally!” Exactly!

Last week, thousands of Americans took their collective grief and rage at this nation’s pervasive, insidious racism to the streets. And the media/social media responded. On Friday night, for example, four news-channel helicopters whirled over Somerville and Cambridge taping the march! Four! (Although maybe one helicopter held the police?) Today’s New York Times features a photo of a “die in” at NYC’s City Hall. Tweets? Facebook posts? Hell, yeah.

Okay: Let’s talk about what happens after these protests are no longer the flavor of the month. Let’s talk strategy. And, dear white people, let’s talk about being allies.

Okay, so here’s the moment when I risk being: a) Preachy  b) Patronizing  c) Smug  d)Holier than Thou  e) All of the above plus other unattractive and off-putting characteristics so much a part of who I am that I can’t even see them

Here’s what I want to tell other white people about being an ally:

Be humble. Prepare to be horrified at how often you’ll mess up, no matter how much you try, you care, you’ve read and discussed and understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia! Wow, my dearest and precious white sisterfriend, Patricia! Wow and wow! Wow, wow, wow! And wow and wow! I thank-you, thank-you, thank-you so, so very profusely for this great Part 1 in this so sensitively loving and caring, and so, so very empowering blog post article of yours, sister! Patricia, I love your very deep and heartfelt love and caring, and your concern for me and other black persons with these egregious and atrocious decisions not to indict in the killings of our Michael Brown and Eric Garner. You, sister, are indeed a spectacular and superbly super white anti-racist ally and activist in your very great allyship and activism in solidarity not only for me as a black woman, and not only for other black persons, but also for all other nonwhite persons. Sister, you are indeed a true blue sisterfriend not only to me but also to other black persons and other persons of color. You, Patricia, and all you do so, so very efficiently in such a productive and proactive, progressive manner mean so, so very much to me and just go straight to my very heart, and eternally bless my very heart, soul, and spirit, my white sisterfriend!!!!!!

    I think that is is perfectly okay, alright, normal, and natural as white allies and anti-racists to be imperfect and to make mistakes, even many mistakes, and even bad mistakes, along your imperfect lifetime’s path and journey. It is perfectly normal to still at times do, think, and feel racist things. Healing and recovery from racism is a work in progress along an imperfect lifetime’s path and journey. I think that you and the others are trying your very best, and working in such a conscientious and a diligent manner. Progress not perfection, and trying your very best, and never giving up on yourselves despite how many mistakes you and the others make is the key. It is perfectly alright, normal, okay, and natural to be imperfect along your way as white allies and anti-racists, sister!!!!!!

    Now I am on to your Part 2, sisterfriend! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this great and empowering Part 1, and for all you so, so very graciously and generously do, my dearest and precious white sisterfriend, Patricia!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always,

    Your Christian lesbian black sisterfriend in solidarity, sherry Gordon

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