I have posted a lot about the Zimmerman verdict this week. It seems an excellent opportunity to encourage my white liberal friends to explore our white privilege. Whatever one’s feeling about the verdict of this particular trial, this is a week when we can get in touch with how it feels to be a people who have suffered violence of body and soul since being brought here centuries ago. This week it may be possible for some white liberals to recognize that racism isn’t just the attitude of a few ignorant conservatives, it stains liberal and conservative alike so long as we defend the economic and legal system that gives us our white privilege.
What follows is a testimonial of a young black woman who is leaving America. Perhaps it will help us feel what our brothers and sisters of color suffer at our white liberal hands.
On the day of college graduation, I told my friends and family the news: I was leaving the country I had lived in since childhood.
“I just need a change,” I told them, but they knew there was more. Was it some romance gone awry, they wondered? Some impulsive response to a broken heart? And I was running from heartbreak. My relationship with the United States of America is the most tumultuous relationship I have ever had, and it ended with the heart-rending realization that a country I loved and believed in did not love me back.
Please do not trust your own perceptions. None of us can see our own prejudice. Assume that, if you were born in a nation that permitted slavery for hundreds of years, you have probably been infected by the disease of racism. I am not asking that you assume guilt from the crimes of earlier generations, I am asking that you advocate justice for generations here and yet to be.