17 Oct Op/Ed: White Fragility & The Act Of Betrayal
I consider it an act of betrayal…
to discover that someone in my circle of solitude is not as conscious as I thought them to be. I consider it a slight when people that I allow into my life tell me that my narrative is false and that I should just “let it be”. I consider it unacceptable to be pigeonholed as a troublemaker when I speak out against the outright atrocities that I have had to face simply for being a minority.
All my life I’ve had to fight as a minority.
There are people in my circle that I have fought for, allowing them to be their authentic selves in the face of danger. I have acted as a human shield for people in my circle because they were too frightened to do so themselves. I have spoken up for friends who were too fearful to do it for themselves. I have done these things because I could not look at myself in the mirror with dignity if I had just stood aside and let ignorance and hatred reign. I have acted as an ally because it was the right thing to do and I have never been one to just sit idly by as someone is being oppressed.
And none of these people were black. None of these people were even my nationality. That is irrelevant. They are PEOPLE.
And when I acted, I did so because I was more fearful of the ramifications of INaction, the unnecessary scar it would leave on my soul. I know what my purpose is in this life and I believe that He gave me just enough.
He gave me just enough strength and courage to enable me to go anywhere, regardless of my skin color, and demand to be respected. And if not, be prepared to fight for what I know is right. There are people in my circle that know far too well what I have had to do and the situations I have experienced that are triggered simply because I am black. I know that the work I put in today will allow someone my color a generation later to go to those places and be ALL that they can be – and possibly without the repercussions that I have had to face.
So it deeply upsets me that I have often not had that same courtesy of humanity extended to me. How I have been physically attacked as alleged friends/allies did nothing. How I have been racially profiled and questioned as people that claim to have my back cower on the sidelines. How I have been turned away from places as people that allege to be in my corner turn a blind eye.
There are people in my circle that have had to calm me down because I was fearful of what I could conceivably do to someone or group that threatened my life. There are people in my circle that have had to witness firsthand for the first times in their lives what it is like to be a person of color when out with me and how I must proceed to stay alive and avoid even more dire circumstances.
I have been asked privately why such and such is no longer in my circle or why I no longer associate with this person, et cetera, et cetera. More than likely, that mutual ‘friend’ we had in common has basically called me a liar and an antagonist that paints a picture that cannot simply be true.
This is where I draw the line.
“So how was it when YOU were black?
There is NO excuse in 2016, with all the technology and access to information we have available in the world today, for ANYONE to not know how to properly address someone of any race. If you can google how to twerk, know what ‘bae’ means, et cetera, then I am not having it when someone claims to not know what the term ‘POC’ means. I am not having it when someone claims to not realize the word ’n*gger’ is offensive to the MAJORITY of black people. If you want to befriend a person of color in a respectful manner?
Put in the work and do better.
And for those that don’t know what that means, *I* am here to tell you.
That means you are to LISTEN.
That means you are to ASK, not assume.
That means you are to RESPECT their struggle and not downplay it because it doesn’t gel with the status quo that you know.
People of color need to take the stance TODAY to speak out against this part of their lives that causes so much pain. You are doing a disservice to everyone of color by ignoring a pain that will not go away simply by not acknowledging it. If the people in your life refuse to accept what you have to say, then you have two options, but only one of them will truly give you peace of mind.
I have no problem with being your ‘only black friend’. I have a long history of being that to many people worldwide. But I refuse to be fodder in anyone’s attempt to use me as a ploy to prove they are woke. You will not have me around because black people are deemed ‘cool’ and are ‘trending’. Simply having a minority circling around your orbit doesn’t mean you are WOKE/CONSCIOUS/AWARE of what is really going on.
If you are afraid of asking those questions, more likely than not you are afraid of the response you may receive.
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