I have lived in my very white Oregon town for a little over 10 years now. Being half indian I have experienced many ignorant comments, microaggressions, and even sometimes outright racism and prejudice. Many think that because our town is lacking in diversity and more liberal than surrounding areas, that we are fine here. That we are safe in this ‘bubble’. But that is not at all the case. The mere concept of this is a prominent example of unacknowledged white privilege. In any community across America today you will find examples of racism, of the system working against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Just like any woman has dealt with sexism or harassment in their life. These are just facts that you learn to live with growing up as a minority.
But I am not here to discuss my personal experiences with racism, that is for another time. I am here to be an active ally to the black community, who are out there right now. Those who are fighting for their right to live in this country. I will never know what it is like to be afraid for my life when interacting with the police. I will never know what it is like to sit my children down and give them the information that they will have to work twice as hard for the same accomplishments, that they will have to be extra cautious, polite, and orderly when dealing with a cop.
The time has come for everyone to know this experience. For everyone to get glimpse at a life that they have had no idea about. I will not speak for my black friends, they can speak for themselves, but I help in every other way possible. I can explain this simple concept, so they don’t have to. This is something that is so important to understand. The Black Lives Matter movement getting traction now is amazing, and I am so happy to see that change seems to finally be happening. But it has taken too many lifetimes. There is no excuse for those of us on the outside to be unaware.
I have heard from some white friends that all of this is too much. That it is getting them down how, “messed up the world is right now”. And that may be true, but stop feeling sorry for yourselves! This isn’t about you. You haven’t had to deal with these experiences. You aren’t scared about being shot when getting pulled over. Now that the reality of what it is like to be Black in America has become exposed, you get sad? Get angry! Do something about it! Join the movement that has been going on in America since we became a country. From the abolitionist movement, to civil rights, to the Black Panthers, to standing up for Rodney King, finally to where we are now with Black Lives Matter.
We live in a world so connected, with knowledge and information at everyone’s fingertips. Being ignorant is no longer an excuse. There are so many voices sharing their stories, giving examples of how corrupt the system is, but also how to help. So listen to them! I have placed links to some good resources I know below.
- Just Mercy Free to Rent on Youtube
- Donate to the Equal Justice Initiative
- 13th a Netflix Documentary (also available in full on Youtube)
- The Black Lives Matter network.
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Minnesota Freedom Fund (funding bail for protesters)
- Trayvon Martin’s Mother is running for Office
- Petition to arrest the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- VOTE! Register to Vote! Vote in your local elections! Learn when your state’s primaries are! Research local candidates!
Get out of your bubble of privilege. Recognizing this is only the first step. We have a long way to go.