Tuesday, June 9, 2020

I'm Ashamed

I’m ashamed; ashamed to be white; ashamed to be American.

I’m ashamed to live in a country where the so-called justice system is blatantly unjust; ashamed of the few white policemen who condone and participate in violence against fellow humans because of their skin color; ashamed of the looters and inciters who would take advantage of a situation for their own selfish gain. As a Caucasian parent and grandparent, I’m ashamed that Black parents must teach their children, for their very safety, not to trust the police, not to wear hoodies in public, not to jog in parks, and not to walk down the street with their hands in their pockets.

After all the gains made in the 1960s by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through intelligent rhetoric and non-violent demonstrations, how is it possible that our nation has scarcely moved an inch closer to sanity or equality?

Where do we go from here? For how long will we, as a country, tolerate the white men and women who think they are superior to anyone who is not white? When will we stop tolerating white people who control because they can; privileged white people who get away with overpowering people of color because they can? When will we stop teaching our children to avoid, shun, or bully non-white children?

When will it stop? When will the legal system, the judicial system, and the penal system finally uphold the Constitution of the United States of America? When will Native Americans and Black Americans and Mexican Americans and Asian Americans and Latino Americans finally be protected from the minority group of racist whites who think they are in charge because they are allowed to be in charge?

I’m convinced that nothing in America will change or improve until the sector of honorable, respectful, honest, ethical, just, and lawful white men and women--and there are many--stands up, once and for all, for what is honorable, respectful, honest, ethical, just, and lawful. Honorable white men and women need to take action, to stand up and be counted. Americans of color are tired of fighting battle after battle while white men and women let the war rage on because it perpetuates their position of privilege.

Last Sunday afternoon I attended an inspiring, unifying “Black Lives Matter” rally in Colonial Williamsburg. At least as many whites gathered in front of the Capitol as people of color. It was organized and led by the Williamsburg Police Department and clergy representing numerous religious denominations. The speakers, both black and white, were articulate, informed and respectful. It was so uplifting! I wanted to shout, “Finally the message is getting through!” At least maybe it’s getting through in our small community that until Black Lives Matter, no lives matter. But it’s only the beginning. We must keep the momentum going.

Honorable white men and women are the only ones who can affect positive reform in this country. Honorable white cops, business owners, clergy, and elected officials. Why? Because they/we are the “privileged white.” Our communities need confident, brave white citizens who refuse to remain silent, who refuse to be racist or oppressive or abusive, men and women who refuse to tolerate hateful speech and behavior from other privileged whites.

Relinquishing our white privilege does not weaken us. On the contrary, it simply trades white supremacy for mutual respect.

America needs to hear from respectful white men and women who believe that every human is created in the image of God, possessing the absolute, inherent right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I’m convinced this is how we make America great.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: UnrevealedThe Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com