I have been silent on my blog for nearly two weeks. I needed to retreat and find my words and voice to articulate my swirling feelings. What is happening Ferguson is NOT okay. I wonder how I can change people’s opinions by my posts on Facebook. I had to delete comments when the topic went off the rails. As the member of the majority, I want to continue the conversation on our white privilege. It is time to stop making excuses and sit with the discomfort.
I struggle with my part in perpetuating the systemic racism that is present in the corporate sector. I used to help manage a call center, and I interviewed candidates on a regular basis. One of the unofficial rules was to discount a candidate if they used “axe” instead of “ask”. I felt that pit in my stomach because I knew that this practice was not right. It discriminated against the Black candidates who applied for these position. Ferguson brought this to the forefront of my thoughts again. I realized that all of my former colleagues , including the Black supervisors, went along with this. My past experience factors into the passion that I feel in speaking up now. Back then I did not feel like I had the power to speak out. In the words of Kelly Wickham, “When systemic poverty or sexism or racism is at play, call it out as unacceptable.” I need to put my white privilege to good use and call out when a situation is not acceptable. That is what I am doing now. This cycle will continue unless we call it out. It is NOT okay to shoot an unarmed black young man. Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. We all matter. We all need the right to a criminal justice system that protects every one of us, regardless of race, color, ethnicity or religion. How we can claim to be the land of the free and the home of the brave when we are enslaving our minority communities in jails and poverty? When the silent majority does not dare speak up for fear of upsetting the balance of power that is so heavily weighted in our direction? We are perpetuating racism through our deafening silence and our refusal to have those honest conversations, not just online but in our homes, our schools, our churches and our communities.