On this last Martin Luther King Jr. Day of the Obama Administration, I am sitting with the overwhelming need to address white people directly. The white people who have found the word “ally” in their lexicon, the people who are earnestly ready to act, but are unsure how to move forward. To the white folk who are for the first time feeling the singe of despair that most folk who sit at the intersections have been feeling since we first arrived in this country. I’ve created a list of several things you can do today and everyday to really make this county the beloved community we strive for it to be.
You ready? Here we go.
1. Stop asking people of color how to respond to injustices that were not created by or systematically upheld by people of color. Talk. To. White. People.
Believe it or not… we’re not the problem here. And I refuse to use all my precious high school typing class skills explaining why Black-on-Black crime, mythical boot straps, All Lives Matter, and Misogynoir is a thing. Don’t bring your white guilt tears our way, because we might be tempted to bottle them and send them to Flint, Michigan. They still don’t have clean water. FYI.
Oh. I said I’d list several things didn’t I? My bad. This is about all I’m willing to give. This ain’t our mess, America.
And for my obligatory MLK quote: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Eris Eady is a poet, storyteller & freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her on IG/Twitter/FB @ErisEady.