Terence Crutcher in Tulsa OK, Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte NC, and 13 year old Ty’re King in Columbus OH are the three Black people most recently shot and killed by police notoriously and publicly, the latest examples of the tragedy of US racism. Their killings were senseless and preventable; yet, already, some people around the country are looking for a reason or explanation to ignore or minimize the significance of these ongoing acts of deadly violence. However, there is no justification.
In these moments, we need more than another letter or statement like this one, which really only echoes what Black folks have been saying for years, decades, and centuries. As white folks, we must start listening, acknowledging, responding, and acting with determination to solve the problems of white racism. We can do this by:
- Supporting Colin Kaepernick and other athletes in their refusal to stand during the national anthem.
- Challenging our friends when they fail to see constant violence against Black people as an expression of anything other than a social system that is racist and profoundly broken. We must call these friends and other white people we know into the movement to end police violence, racism, and white supremacy in the US, into the community of justice and transformation.
- Reframing conversations in white communities from the need for “peace” --meaning quiet-- to a focus on systemic racism and state sanctioned violence.
- Building relationships and networks with other white anti-racists and show up when allies are needed in this struggle - at rallies and actions to support the Black Lives Matter movement or helping with planning and providing needed resources.
- Promoting and defending the voices of Black movements against state repression and media racism. We must help provide material and legal resources and court support for Black and other people facing such repression for standing up and speaking out against racist police murders.
- Acknowledging and supporting our Black and brown friends when they tell us about their experiences of racism. We need to offer unquestioning support, without searching for reasons or explanations that only cast doubt on what is at this point an undeniable reality: racism is everyday and nationwide.
- Working hard to overcome the day-to-day institutionalized and internalized racism in commerce, education, government, and belief systems that the police killings grow out of and enforce.
As the Los Angeles chapter of White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL), we support Black people expressing themselves in response to all forms of racial oppression. Black people are leading their own struggles and have their own political strategies. We must support these brave folks who are committed to a better vision for America. We commit ourselves and call on other white people to engage in critical self-reflection and examination about the meaning of race and whiteness in our lives. We also commit ourselves and urge other white people to take action and organize.
We need to challenge and change what is normal white culture in this country so that it is no longer anti-Black. Let’s dismantle white supremacy.
White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL) is a white anti-racist collective and activist project of the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere (AWARE-LA) and operates within a national network of white anti-racists called Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). WP4BL is rooted in acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter: Los Angeles. If you are in Los Angeles and would like to get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org