As a friend told me once, “We black folks are the experts on white machinations. We’ve seen it all before. You think we haven’t heard ‘wait your turn,’ or ‘you’ll hurt your cause’ before? We’ve heard and seen it all. Liberals think a position paper should mean something to us. They think appointing a black woman as press secretary means something to us. You think we are fooled by a black shield. What we know is this. We weren’t invited to be on his staff. Hell, we weren’t even invited to his table. We see whites feed off each other’s privilege, which is the status quo. We see white progressives as part of and supportive of the status quo.”
Suddenly we white folks are concerned about the manners of the black activists as we sit at our computers or with phone or tablet in hand offering criticism, which, of course, is for their own good. White bloggers and pundits, along with most of us social media types, have weighed in with our critiques of the behavior of Black Lives Matter activists. Some of us go so far as to search out quotes by black bloggers and pundits critical of BLM, even though we never cared before about their opinions.
I’ll offer my advice, for what it’s worth. White folks, don’t get your feelings hurt because all you ever see are videos or articles about bad cops committing horrific acts. Don’t say 95% of cops are good guys and gals. BLM isn’t about good vs bad cops, in my opinion. The movement is trying to change a corrupt and incestuous justice system that hires, harbors, and protects racists at the cost of black lives. A system that we white folks may not have actively put into place or nurtured, but we’ve helped it thrive by our apathy and inaction. And it’s not just the justice system either. Racism thrives in educational and banking and housing institutions along with every other part of American society.
Settle down. Calm down. Black Lives Matter isn’t about your feelings or my feelings. So what if Black Twitter poked fun at us for our Cecil love. Save your indignation for the institutions that oppress minorities. We have no right to criticize the BLM activists when we enable the very institutions that oppress them. So what if they rudely disrupted Bernie Sanders. If he can’t handle that, he has no business running for President. And whatever you do, don’t tell black folks you won’t support their cause if they don’t do such and such. You know why? Because we are not supporting their cause. We are watching from the sidelines.
And please remember that we have the privilege of being normal: walking down a street, driving a car, and going shopping without being harassed or worse. Our kids are likely to graduate from school without a mark on their record. We can live any place we can afford; in fact, a lot us don’t even know what red lining means. We don’t have to teach our children how to avoid getting shot by a government agent. It’s highly unlikely our 15 and 16 year olds will be thrown into and left in a prison like Rikers for years without charges ever being filed. White privilege is getting to be normal. My guess is that’s what black folks would like, too–just to have the privilege of normalcy.