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15 July 2013 @ 08:56 am
You Are Not Trayvon Martin (If You're White)  
"You Are Not Us"

Description:

"A short essay on telling Whiteness no from the perspective of a pained Black woman. Specifically about how White people talk about young people of color in the news, Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantal and Kiera Wilmot. Warning there is racialized language in this piece. "


I read my friend Shannon's essay a couple of days before I heard the not-guilty verdict on George Zimmerman. It was timely and I thought about it a lot as I read the anguished responses in my twitter TL. I've thought a lot about issues of race since I watched my family implode from their racism when I was ten. (My aunt married a black man and suddenly I found out that most of my extended family was racist.) While I have tried to educate racist people all my life and I have been angered and saddened, in turn, by watching my friends deal with it directly, I will never know what it is like to live with it directed at me personally. That's just a fact. I can be sympathetic; I can express solidarity; I can try to apply what I've learned from being subjected to classism, homophobia and fat phobia in an effort to empathize, but I can't know. Since we can't know, we should try for some humility and listen.