I don’t want to hear “I can’t believe this.”
I want you to read up on the history you’ve had the privilege to ignore.
I don’t want your opinions or thoughts.
I want you to listen to the Black experiences you’ve chosen to forget.
I don’t want your #BLM Instagram story reposts.
I don’t want your passive Twitter likes.
I want you to follow Black tragedies as much as you follow Black trends.
I don’t want to vindicate your white guilt. It’s yours to reconcile.
I want you to check your racist parents and call out your apathetic white friends (especially when there are no people of color there) without expecting a pat on the back.
I don’t want your tears. I have plenty of those.
I want you to check in on your Black loved ones and respect our emotional/physical boundaries.
I don’t want to diminish the adversity you’ve faced from aspects of your identity.
I want you to acknowledge that your life is easier because you’re white. I want you to admit that you would never choose to be a Black person— because you know your life would be harder.
I don’t want you to be “a good white.”
I want your activism to be questioned and challenged and criticized by Black people. I want you to grow from your mistakes so we can grow as a nation.
I don’t want your out-of-context MLK quotes on perpetual pacifism.
I want you to see that the only difference between The Boston Tea Party “protestors” and the Stonewall, Watts, and Rodney King “riots” is the former were white and the latter were Black. I want you to be disobedient to signal the need for change and destroy the oppressive systems that make you comfortable and powerful.
I want you to use your white body to shield brown demonstrators from tear gas and bullets.
I don’t want peace.
I want justice.
I don’t want you to prove that you’re “not racist.”
I want you to know that you are the byproduct of a successful racist regime that has capitalized off of Black oppression and suppression for centuries. I want you to realize that being racist is more American than apple pie.
I don’t want you to feel at ease.
I want you to take a look at yourself. I want you to shed light on the corners of your subconscious you’ve glossed over for years. I want you to know that you are racist because you have be trained to be so, and it’s within your power to become anti-racist.
I don’t want my strength to be praised.
I want you to respect the breadth of my emotions. I want space to break down and acknowledge my grief.
I don’t want to lose your attention.
I want you to remember Tony McDade during Pride. I want you to remember Ahmaud Abrey during Independence Day. I want you to remember George Floyd when you vote in November. I want you to remember Amy Cooper at your Christmas dinner. I want you to remember Breonna Taylor when you hear a knock on your door. I want you to remember Trayvon Martin every time you see a bag of Skittles. I want you to know that this reconditioning is a necessary lifelong endeavor.
I don’t want you to be an ally for me or some other Black person in your life.
I want to be an active ally because it’s the right thing to do.
Ways You Can Help:
To my Semicolon Bookstore Campaign— supporting Black woman-owned businesses and Chicago youth and literacy.
If you participate in a local protest, make sure to take the following precautions and acknowledge city curfews— if they apply.
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