Letter: The Least I Can Do…

By: Beth Moore, M.Ed.

I am watching the funeral of George Floyd, a funeral that should not be happening, if not for racism he would still be alive. I am overcome with grief for his family and our country.

Most of my white friends do not know the privilege they have because of their skin color. All of my black friends know the discrimination they face because of theirs. Systemic racism is real. White privilege is real, although white advantage may make better sense for those who think privilege denotes only wealth. There are the privileges as a white person I have every day that my friends of color do not have and I know how wrong that is. I started thinking what can I do, one white woman, one voice.

Here is the very least I can do as one white woman- the very least I can do…

The very least I can do as a white woman is to stand up and say what is wrong.

It is wrong that my friends of color have to teach their children different societal norms than I do.

It is wrong that my children are treated differently than their friends of color. It is wrong that my children have more opportunities and better life outcomes than their friends of color just because of their skin color.

It is wrong that moms of color have to worry about what will happen if their son gets pulled over by the police and I do not. I don’t worry about my young adult sons leaving the house. I never had to have a talk with my boys of how to keep themselves safe around law enforcement. In fact, they were taught they were safe if the police were around. If my boys did get in trouble, I did not worry they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law- I assumed, correctly, they would get some probation for a first offense and be done with it.

It is wrong that my child can wear a hoodie and not be suspected of any malice.  As a mom, I am not scared they will be killed for walking down the street with their head covered.  Moms of color are terrified of their boys leaving the house.

It is wrong that my friends of color are looked at suspiciously in some areas of town. I was never mistreated for the color of my skin. I was never looked at with suspicion, no matter what area of my town I was in.

I will never understand what my friends and fellow citizens of color have gone through, but I can assure you I won’t pretend that because something hasn’t happened to me it is not happening. I won’t be sorry for speaking up. I won’t be quiet when someone is being mistreated. I will listen. I will encourage other white people to listen to what is being said without adding their white perspective.  We have had a different experience as white people- our lens is not the same- and it is long overdue that we switch the lens and use our privilege to stop and change the systems that are perpetuating racism.

It is the very least I can do.

The Johnston County Report welcomes letters to the editor. The letters may be edited for clarity or length at the editor’s discretion. Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of The Johnston County Report, its staff or its advertisers. To submit a letter or opinion-editorial email JohnstonCountyReport@gmail.com