Perspectives from Black women: What to Do, Say and Learn during a time of Civil Unrest and Racial Divide.

Perspectives from Black women: What to Do, Say and Learn during a time of Civil Unrest and Racial Divide.

posted on: June 11, 2020

I sit here at my laptop, hands trembling as I begin to finally write and share all the things I have learned over the last three weeks since George Floyd was murdered. This black man was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down in the street, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. When George Floyd called out to his mother, mothers everywhere answered.

Today, a black man, right now at this very moment is being arrested and held in handcuffs across the street from my home in the police station parking lot. I am watching as several people mill around and video him and the six police. What a day we live in. However, I choose to believe the pain of dealing with everything that is going on in our nation is a good sign. When our thinking is challenged we can grow and see other perspectives.

Push through the pain.

I always wondered what would I do during the time of slavery or the holocaust or the civil rights movement era. Now I know. I am doing it right now. 

Over a week ago, I began asking questions I did not have the answers to and recieved answers I was not prepared for. Things I have been taught all my life were illusions and lies.

I decided to do what comes easiest for me. Curiousity. Ask questions. Ask the hard questions. 

I began to think of the community of people that I have been so privileged to know and meet. I realized I had the right people in my large circles who would not be offended by me asking the hard questions to them. They would be strong enough and brave enough and tolerant enough to teach me. I ask nine women and one man the below questions. A few declined however, what I did not expect was how one black man and six beautiful women would go out of their way to provide education to me that for some reason I feel like I don’t deserve. I am holding a precious gift from this man and these six brave, beautiful women of color to whom I owe a great debt. I am forever grateful to you. Thank you from all of us. 

In the following posts you will read questions I asked and answers from multiple women who opened their hearts to me. One beautiful friend said the following:

Thank you for this opportunity. 
Though I am usually ready to give my perspective, I didn’t think only my perspective would give voice to the many questions you asked. So I got together with 3 other black women so you will find the replies saying ‘we’. All of our feelings are combined. We agreed almost 100% on the majority of things. Honestly it was a learning opportunity for each of us when we differed in our opinions. The black experience is a spectrum and hopefully this provided you with a wider one than me doing it alone would have. 
Much to my chagrin, she went on to say the following:
The comments provided are a compilation of thoughts and feelings of me and 3 other black women. We tried to respond as honestly as we could. Our willingness to engage in these discussions vary, but they were willing to diversify the feedback to you because I asked them to. I am not sure how you plan to use this information but these are feelings we feel safe with releasing.

Even after you read the information below, understand people still have not opened up fully. They have not discussed the hurt closest to their heart. They are angry, afraid, and cautious. There are still unthinkable and unspeakable things that have not been brought to the light. Trauma so terrible, they cannot be uttered. A kind of trauma no white person in America could fathom. 

Black Lives Matter

I don’t know if the following blog post will help anyone else other than myself however, I would like to believe somehow my words and their words of education would live long after I do and ring out through the coming generations to others so our future won’t make the same mistakes we are repeating today. 

  • What do you say Justice is?
    • The question almost implies that black people hold a different definition from others. Our ‘perspective’ on the word Justice is the same, it doesn’t matter because this definition already exists. Yes, it is both a behavior and a treatment. Justice in action looks like (not in any specific order):
      • Being aware of micro aggressions
      • Not letting black people to the all the work/ the only ones fighting
      • Reparations (goes back 400 years)
      • Representation in leadership in government/business etc., so the discussions continue.
      • Education of youth, stop the cycle.
    • Justice is seeking what’s right for a wrong that has been done. When I think of justice, I think of God. He is a just GOD and as men and women of God we should stand up against injustice in the natural but more so in the spirit as well. The word of God tells us to love our neighbor as ourself.
      • So if you were treated unfairly or unjustly, how would you want to be heard? How would you want to be treated?
      • I believe the greatest issue is we first need to love God with all of our mind, soul, heart, and strength. When we do these things, we will love what HE loves and hate what HE hates. Proverbs 28:5 says that evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. So seek ye first the kingdom of God and all its righteous, so that you may understand what is good and perfect in His sight.
      • He is the judge and He will judge all according to their deeds and actions. But in order to acquire the justice that the bible speaks of, we must submit and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. The word speaks clearly on how God views righteous judgement. Take time and really read:
        Ecclesiastes 3:17, Hebrews 10:30, Hosea 12:6, Job 12:22, Proverbs 21:15, Proverbs 24: 24-25, Matthew 5:38-39Isaiah 30:18-19Isaiah 61:8-9, Isaiah 1:17Psalm 106:3Zachariah 7:9Leviticus 19:15Psalm 33:5Isaiah 51: 4
    • I have two strikes against me. I am black and I am a woman.

 

  • What does BLM stand for? 
    • A human rights movement
    • Black Lives Matter
    • I am not black, I am not white but I am from a minority race. I am against violence and looting but I believe that without this riots there is no change. Riots have come and go thru the years and many involving police brutality but this one stand out because a whole state is coming out of quarantine of a pandemic that was killing black people faster than any other race. A quarantine where so many racial incidents were recorded on video; the insult is in your face.
    • BLM should not have to be a thing if it was understood by everyone that every life matters.
    • BLM is a cry, is a SCREAM to be seen and heard.
    • BLM is to me: people who look like me and who don’t look like me rally together to speak out against white supremacy and build power within the community.
    • It means that my life and the life of other African American’s matter.
  • What does “Black Lives Matter” mean? 
    • It means what every other human rights movement means, “the right to life and liberty…”
    • It means that we matter too.
    • For the most, whites, they still think they are worth more and elite. We are still n******, wetbacks, and such in their eyes regardless how far we come up or contribute. Piss them off and they will call you a racist slur.

 

  • How is BLM different than ALM (All lives matter)?
    • All lives matter was reactionary to a community self-advocating (with allies) and pointing out that black lives were seen as less than.
      We liked this analogy using a Christian lens:
      BLM= “blessed are the poor in spirit”
      ALM= “no Jesus, blessed are all people”
    • Imagine your kid being in a classroom where the teacher says, you all matter. But because your child is different from the rest, they are treated differently. Everyday they come in the class and the teachers say’s you all matter but your kid is being treated as if he/she doesn’t matter. Eventually they will speak up and say, hey I matter too!!! How would that make you feel as a mother? Would you not say my child matters too or would you tell your hurting child that all the kids matter?
    • BLM is different than ALM because it takes the focus off what is truly happening. Everyone is given one life, and to think that your privilege affords you to feel or not feel in a certain way on the lives of black people while we are mistreated. As we die in our homes, the streets, wherever, our tears could mean the difference between life and death.
    • All lives matter is 100% facts! The only thing is we see to some people (unfortunately those also being some in power) show us in a discriminatory way that the statement “all lives matter rings untrue”. So I say yes, all lives should matter, but can not and will not be that a true and valid statement until we see black lives matter. That’s the difference.

 

  • What do white women need to know?
    • Stop tokenizing friendships with POC (i.e. I am not racist because I have a black friend).
      • Educate yourselves, for mothers educate your children.
      • If you have no POC in your immediate community/network/friendships, think about why. And through self-reflection look to see if you are a part of the reason or part of communities of people who are.
      • Outside of legitimate reason such as proximity, read black literature, watch films/documentaries, research, expand your family’s perspectives through education, activities, and build/keep a humble curiosity. And, do all this even without POC around.
    • As a woman in general you should know what it feels like to be discriminated because of your gender. You know what it feels like to not be taken seriously or to go unheard because of your gender. To be treated unfairly or unjustly. Most woman of any race knows what its like to experience this. So just dig deep and see if you remember a time this may have happen to you.
      • How did it make you feel?
      • What did you want to say?
      • Woman matter too, right?
    • A white woman’s tears could shut a city down, charge a innocent man with murder, and have a man hung from a tree. Sadly the things I have listed has been hidden from our history books and told as bedtime nightmares.
    • We seen how powerful our voices are! I witnessed it with the “Me too movement”. Don’t let the difference in skin and injustice silence your voice for your allies. We are sisters. And right now we need to send a united message as we have before.

 

  • How do we need to listen to our friends that are POC (People of Color)?
    • Don’t speak first, don’t just hear, listen, empathize.
    • Don’t generalize, and don’t let your opinions/preconceptions supersede our experiences.
    • If you don’t already understand the POC perspectives, don’t try to fit their experiences into your conceptualizations.
    • You listen the same way you would listen to a white person who is hurting. We are no different we just want to be heard. Being sympathetic to someone else pain and suffering shows you are compassionate and that you care.
    • If you are comfortable, you are not growing. I appreciate you for allowing me to give my thoughts freely.
    • Ask questions, get uncomfortable, put your pride aside, and listen. We have to start somewhere.

 

  • “Black lives are more important than white feelings.” “Black lives take precedence over white tears and fragility.” Do you agree or disagree with these quotes? 
    • YES! When did someone’s hurt feelings matter more than someone having breath in their body, or access to education, or civil liberties?
    • To be frank, we don’t care about white tears or fragility. Black tears built this country and revolutions take place it is because we are tired of crying.
    • If you take the words black and white out then it will read: lives are more important than feelings. Lives take precedence over tears and fragility. A feeling can be fixed and cared for. Tears can be wiped away, and fragile can be made strong again. But a life that has been taken can never be replaced.
    • I’ve dealt with being called a n***** by my teacher, spit on and having to fight. I have been jumped on by 2 teachers and being kicked out for protecting myself while the whole class reported that it wasn’t my fault. I was told by the police not to walk in certain neighborhoods, stay on my side where I belong and more but it comes to a point where walking away or turning a cheek makes your self-worth as a person and your spirit to be broken down or diminished. I’ve never let anyone diminish me but they have tried and weapons were and are formed to try. This applies to all miniorities. We deal with a lot on our jobs.
    • Yes. Its time to admit that white privilege is a real thing and being on the wrong end of the stick of it can be deadly. We have to acknowledge a problem before we can fix it instead of dancing around it.

 

  • How do People of Color let white people in to understand what is going on?
    • This question’s structure is part of the problem. It is phrased in a way that puts the blame on black people. “Let us in” implies that POC have kept white people out of understanding something. At no point were black people not receptive to white understanding our plight. The problem is because white people don’t have to deal with these issues on a daily basis, they have the privilege to ignore what has always been there.
    • To let anyone in they must be trusted. Meaning I’m not going to let you in if you don’t care about my pain. I really don’t understand this question.
    • No one needs to read books or watch a movie or be educated on racism, just treat your neighbor like you would like to be treated. If you see injustice, get involved, report it, don’t stay silence. It’s not right.
    • By opening up and speaking on their realities and experiences. We’re all in the same boat, some just have a better seat or view. Use your voice to bring awareness.

 

  • Where and how do we find a place to listen and to hear People of Color?
    • I don’t believe there is a special place, more of a concern. If you have someone in your life who is of color then talk to them. Stop being afraid. If they were your friend before then there shouldn’t be a problem with sitting down and having a talk if you are truly sincere about what’s going on in their lives. What’s their struggles?
    • You can read some books, a blog, facebook, or watch a movie. You can even listen to a song. Its been out there you just have to open your eyes and ears to hear.
    • “place?” There is no specific place, it is in every moment of life. The conversations don’t need a specific place, they just need to happen with or without POC present all the time. “There is no wrong time to do the right thing.”

 

  • How do white people/women help, grow and change? Do we need to change? Give us direction.
    • I don’t feel like this is a question that needs to be asked, given all the above. But if white people don’t think Justice should prevail, then do nothing. That is why we are quoting “Not being racist is not enough, you have to actively anti-racist.”
    • It all starts with the renewal of the mind. Renewing your mind to the word of God and erasing generational mindsets that have been passed down through your blood line. I believe this is all learned behavior. It starts in the mind but the mind can be changed. We all have mindsets that need to be torn down and then rebuild. So in turn it starts in the home. What you teach and show your children matters. What are you teaching/modeling to your kids about other races? Transform how you think and your actions will follow.
    • Phone a friend, text, or log on to social media, ask and inquire! Reach out and let someone know, “Hey! I’m here and I want to help.”

 

  • Recently, it has been said repeatedly that it is not the People of Color’s responsibility or job to educate white people about the matter of BLM or racism.
    • This question is often infuriating because it seems like people, in general, put in the energy to learn the things they care about. How have others learned that billions of people don’t have access to clean water, or that being poor leads to increased likelihood of negative health outcomes? Curiosity, research, education, and training. All of this is available when it comes to the BLM and fighting against racism.
    • White people can attend seminars, reading books, attend town halls, joining community initiatives, and do the work to understand a problem.
    • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In many of these spaces you may be the only white person sitting in the room. That in its self is a powerful way to increase empathy for the black experience. So at the end of the day educating yourself and being aware is the first step. You don’t need to protest or be at the frontlines to part of the change. There are multiple venues to make impact.
    • If you are aware of the injustices of black lives and you want to help and grow and cause change, then half the work is already done! Now be about it! Practice that in your day to day. Treat those the way you would want to be treated and fight for those as you would want for some one to fight for you. Step in and show up, everyday.

 

  • I don’t want any more families to be hurt. I don’t want any more people to be killed because of the color of their skin. It is scary and sad. What a sad day it is in America. Is it possible for all of us to live in a safe space and not be afraid of offending anyone because of the color of our skin?
    • Offense is different than actively using racism to marginalize and brutalize people. If all the black community felt was offended, we don’t think we would be where we are today. This is past offensive, it is again connected to human rights.
    • Sadly, we don’t think there is one solution and if it will happen in our generation but we do think it can and will be much better in the next coming years.
    • That’s a fantasy. The bible says in Luke 17:1 that it is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. There are evil spirits who are always on the prow seeking who they can use to do what they came to do and that is to steal, kill, and destroy. So it’s up to you if you choose to be a vessel who offends.

 

  • Would reading certain books help us understand racism? Are there any suggestions you would make for blogs and books to read so we can understand? Please list the title and author here.
    • Yes, there are blogs, social media pages, and bookstores that have list of reads. From historical reads to narratives. Use them all to gain knowledge of the spectrum of the black experience in America.
    • Read the Bible. Read about Azusa St. by Frank Bartleman, How to Kill a mocking bird. Harriet Tubman: The Road to freedom. Ask God to lead you to the ones that will best open up your understanding to all of this.
    • If reading is your thing then yes. I personally would recommend Maya Angelo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and The lyrics and poems of Tupac.

 

  • It has been said that “Colorblind” white children grow up to be racially dismissive and violent.” Do you agree or disagree with that opinion? Why?
    • Yes, because the whole concept is teaching them to not acknowledge and respect differences in perspectives, lifestyle, cultures, and religions. The only time color blind should be mentioned is when it is a diagnosis from a physician.
    • Agree, I think “colorblind” is just a nice way of saying “I’ll turn a blind eye if and when a situation or problem comes up related/ associated with your color.”

 

  • There have been photos of People of color and police or People of Color and white people hugging to show kindness in the world. Some say this image perpetuates a false narrative and unity looks like focusing on kindness instead of equity. Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. What do you believe? 
    • We agree, though it seems nice at first glance, it is giving a false narrative. One because this march wasn’t about the ‘good cops’, it is about the culture inside of the profession that has allowed for injustices to occur. The media is almost using those images to distract from the deeply rooted hurt in the black community.
    • I am a woman of God so when I see this, I see God working and moving. I see God’s goodness. But this statement is not dismissing the kindness shown in these pictures. They are saying they want more than just a hug and a pat on the back. They want action as well.
    • It just depends on someone’s intentions and perspective. I happen to like those photos. For me, it helps me visualize a future I want to see for my little brothers’ future, but I do understand how they can be used to make it look as though there isn’t much progress that has to be made or things aren’t that bad to try and glaze things over. Times are crazy and confusing. Just do your part and don’t get distracted by white noise. I stray away from people that just want to argue about anything and everything, and find a group of people that want to cause change instead of just talking about it.

 

  • “Compassion without accountability is manipulation.” Do you agree or disagree?
    • We were not completely sure what this was getting to. However, we will say, feeling sorry for someone eventually fades if you don’t see how it affects your life. The major reason why we see what we see today through riots is because there are a lot of people who are not overtly racist but they said nothing or committed to nothing to make it stop. After a while, the silence of people who see injustice becomes just as hurtful as the people who did the direct harm. If people are not part of the solution in some way (we listed ways that people can be part of the solution above) then they are part of the problem.
    • It all depends on the person’s motive behind it. If a person is only being compassionate so that you shut up and forget about the situation then yes it is. Basically, if your compassion has a hidden agenda then yes it’s manipulation at its core. A man judges the outer appearance but God judges the heart. Just because you see with your eyes that this person is being compassionate doesn’t mean their heart is right. A spirit filled person with discernment will understand this more than anybody else.

 

  • “Racism isn’t cured by ignorance, apathy or kindness.” Do you agree or disagree?
    • Agree. Systemic problems can only be solved by systemic solutions. Racism systemic. Look at the system, see the history of brokenness, and start to see what part you can play to repair and reconcile.
    • I agree. Action must be taken. Faith without works is dead. When has ignorance ever helped any situation? Even the bible says get wisdom and with all of your getting get knowledge and with all of your knowledge get understanding.
      Apathy, if you got wounded and chose to have lack of interest or concern about it the wound, does that make the wound go away? No, it doesn’t as a matter of fact, because you chose to ignore it will now become infected and worse than it was before. So, when I see a white person who never experienced racism be apatheic to racism that shows me that you don’t care and it’s not your problem. You don’t have to deal with that at all, so why care?
      Kindness shows that you are sympathetic but your actions enforces it. What are you willing to do as an individual to see a change in this world? Being kind is not implementing change but it is a start. Never stop being kind but action must be taken with it.

 

Lives are in danger and it is up to us to shed light on that, rather than focus on exceptions to the rule.

 

Pray for the loss of this nation.

Educate your family. 

Listen. Silence can reinforce racism so begin hard conversations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Has this article benefited you in any way? Let me know in the comment section below. Share to spread awareness.

 

May God bless America.

 

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