Why are there so very many White Liberals (not all, but very many) who, knowing that they benefit from generations of skin privilege, knowing that the institutionalized racism from which they have benefited has brutalized generation upon generation upon generation of Blacks, having indisputable evidence of the indignations, the dehumanization, and brutality Blacks are subject to every day, knowing that Blacks are statistically less likely to be employed because of our race less likely to get housing because of our race less likely to get justice because of our race and more likely to be killed by those supposedly upholding the law because of our race – knowing all of that why is it so many White Liberals continue to say that the real solution to the ongoing psychological and physical violence directed at Black Americans will only be reached when the victims of this brutality moderate their reaction to it?
If only Blacks, they say, could have a more peaceful, more moderate reaction to the daily terrorism they experience it would be a first step to solving the problem.
Can't they just peacefully protest like in the good old days?
Can't they protest in such a way that isn't divisive? In a way that isn't about blame?
Can't they protest in a way that I can feel a part of?
Can't they protest in a way that's more about… Me?
Can't they be more grateful for how much better things are nowadays because of people like me? There’s a place to start — gratitude. Can't they incorporate their gratitude to people like me into their protests so that I can feel welcomed? We love Martin Luther King Jr. - and not just because he's dead! Because he was respectful. We — well, our parents – were on his side! And without us – well, our parents – he would never have succeeded! At making things better!
Which they are!
So why aren't these modern Black protesters more... grateful?
Why are they so insistent?
Why are they so loud?
And most importantly – why can't they come up with a protest that doesn't get between me and my destination, me and my work, me and my Starbucks? Yeah, I know, life and death, daily terror...but what's the point of a protest that upsets people like me?
They need people like me! To help them… which I can’t do if I feel offended, or slighted, or ignored, or if my my my advice isn’t acted on.
Except for “Starbucks” I've actually heard everything all the rest. These particular Liberals aren't interested in justice, they're interested in their own comfort, and - deep inside - retaining their privilege, their position of primacy. They will help fight inequality, they will help fight injustice, as long as they get credit, and as long as that fight is in no way inconvenient to them or threatens the privilege they enjoy and hope to pass on to their children. Because they understand, on some deep level, that real revolutionary change will mean their skin privilege would come to nothing. And as they fought to retain those privileges they would be revealed for what they are – reactionary, patronizing beneficiaries and tacit supporters of the brutal, unremitting racism they pretend to condemn. Not all, but very many.