Dear White America

by 

Wanetta Doty

Author & LHT Member

Dear White America;

I am exhausted. We’re exhausted. The current uprising against systemic inequities and injustices is long overdue, so check your white privilege. You need to fix this racism pandemic once and for all. 

 

The last words sputtered through Mr. George Floyd’s dying mouth while being murdered by an ex Minneapolis police officer’s knee, says it all: 

 

“I …Can’t …Breathe.” 

 
We Americans, who are black, are tired of having our lives not matter. We’re tired of living in a crystal-clear fishbowl watching you and your cherry-picked “model minorities” live and enjoy the so-called American Dream. Yet, we’re forced to endure this American Nightmare you created for us, that has favored your race, since America’s inception. 

 

We can’t breathe…

Why is it that you, white people, can draw the “race card” with abandon, diminishing our legitimate concerns; hijacking our narratives, and repackaging them as “unpatriotic, race-baiting, or reverse discrimination,” to simply avoid mitigating our issues and doing the hard work to right the wrong, and end the structural racism you created for us?

We can’t breathe…

You display material wealth gainful employment affords you while we suffocate in the toxic air of iniquity; your knees-on-our-necks weighed down by America’s slavery and Jim Crow legacies that benefit you, to our impediment. You vehemently deny this country’s structure of white supremacy has bestowed white privilege upon you, yet we languish in its wake.

 

You fervently insist your forefathers’ bygone sins are history. “Not our doing. Not our problem!” And yet, you wittingly do nothing to deconstruct white Supremacy for fear of losing the white privilege you claim not to have.

 

We can’t breathe…

The uncomfortable discourse on America’s ugly race relations and the inherent “inequity vs privilege” it perpetuates, is my white brothers’ and sisters’ choice not to have with us. What do you fear? Harm, saying the wrong thing, or drumming up “black” anger or buried guilt within yourselves? You remain silent; therefore, complicit. It is now time to do the hard work with honest dialogue and actions, white people.

I’ve tried to dialogue race relations and have been shut down then ghosted by white people. Such audacity on my part. A former colleague queried: “When did you become so politically correct,” after I informed the group their jokes were racist in nature. It shut down rather than encouraged the necessary discourse on racism. I was avoided from that day forward. I also gained an understanding of why we are unwelcome in corporate America. White people don’t like checking their inherent, implicit racism against POC. It is just too much hard work for you. Plus, we will report you to HR. Model Minorities typically, will not, so you prefer them over us. 

 

However, to avoid you feeling threatened by me in your white, corporate spaces, I work harder than you to prove my worth. I measure my tone, words, and avoid errors. I don’t balk at your racist or sexist banter. I straighten my hair and add extensions to ensure I don’t appear “too ethnic,” as you are uneasy about my ethnicity. 

 

By the way, not every query on race by a white person is racist nor is every white person a racist when they discuss race in earnest. 

If we must read American History books to apprise ourselves of this country’s genesis, then it is incumbent upon all Americans to read books that include our contributions and struggles that went into building this great country. America is also ours to enjoy.


To say you don’t see color, white people, is an insult to people of color, as it means you don’t recognize your own race as a color, yet you mention not seeing ours while in our presence. 

 

Here’s a hard pill to swallow: White is also a color. 

 

And while not seeing our color you will clutch your handbag tighter, exit an elevator, engage your car door locks whenever we come into view, and set security on us when we enter your businesses and neighborhoods because our skin color, your so-called myopic eyes don’t see, is viewed through your 20/20 vision racism lenses. 

 

We are not racism only victims. You are, as you are also passive consumers of mainstream media, and generational racist government policies that have primed you to view me and my race as criminals, in all our daily doings: Shopping, driving, jogging, walking, sleeping, playing, studying, breathing, praying… all while black.

 

We can’t breathe…
 

So white people, check your privilege. Inspect it. Dissect it. Hold it up to my disadvantages. Ask yourself if you really earned it beyond your birthright to enjoy it. Did you? The massive set-asides from which white males have benefited since forming this country have been weaponized and deemed unfair and undeserving when reassigned as “Affirmative Action” to black Americans who simply desire a “sliver” of its benefit. Yet when white women and Asians gain access as majority benefactors of Affirmative Action, their efforts are deemed well deserved. We are treated like criminals in the night, lying in wait to steal a coveted spot into your white spaces you gained simply through privilege. 

 

Since you suffer from short term memory deficits, let me remind you white women and Asians that your privilege is complements of the blood, sweat, and tears we shed when “vicious dogs,” water from high-powered hoses, and police billy clubs attacked our unarmed bodies during the Civil Rights Movement. The Affirmative action for which we fought hard; you now use. And you are still in denial your numbers don’t impact quota systems. 

 

You are privileged hoarders, who’ve robbed us of our hard-fought civil rights to receive education and jobs on par with you. You are the thieves in the night. The criminals. Subsequently, through racist rhetoric, policies, and actions, you’ve convinced the entire world that we don’t deserve the American Dream you enjoy. Shame on you! 

 

We… can’t …breathe…

Black Lives Matter.

762 Fulton Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

info@lhtsf.org

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