I grew up in a white town, went to a white school, and learned white history taught by white teachers. I was taught that the Black Panthers were aggressive and violent, and Malcolm X was an extremest. I was taught MLK was assassinated by a white supremacist. I was taught that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.
I was taught that was the end of racism.
I was taught about the Boston Tea Party, but not the Stonewall riots. I was taught about women’s suffrage, but not the Suffragettes.
I was taught that violence is never the answer, unless it is done by a straight white man.
I never had a Black teacher until I left that white town for college. My first academic advisor, a Black man, convinced me to be a writer. My first SciFi professor, also a Black man, rekindled my love for the genre. I never stopped to consider how different their lives were than mine. I never fathomed that they COULD be treated differently than me.
That is white privilege.
When Black football players kneeled against police brutality, we told them to keep politics out of sports. They were paid to play a game for our entertainment. The protests stopped.
Peaceful protests of “Black Lives Matter” were shouted across the country, and we white-washed their plea for help by countering with “All Lives Matter.”
The protests stopped.
The Boston Tea Party taught me that eventually, there is a tipping point.
Stonewall taught me that eventually, there is a tipping point.
The Suffragettes taught me that eventually, there is a tipping point.
And straight, white men taught me that violence can be the answer.
So when we see these peaceful daytime protests, we have to ask ourselves what changes. What is the tipping point that causes people to riot, to loot, to burn, to tear down Confederate monuments?
Is it the tear gas?
The rubber bullets?
The pepper spray?
Or perhaps being murdered by the hands of those sworn to protect you.
And whose fault is it, really? The ones trying so desperately to be heard?
Or the ones who refused to listen?