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Listen to the Silence

As the number of unarmed black men killed by law enforcement officers increase, I am struck by the silence of my white friends. I am left with feelings of incomprehension.The anger that rises up in me from the worry and concern for my 18 year old grandson in particular, my younger grandsons, my nephews, cousins, friends, and every black male in America takes away my aliveness. There is a knot in my stomach on a daily basis. The worry; concern; the fear. I get angry by the realization that the color of my skin makes me a potential target. I get angry because all the warriors on whose shoulders I stand, gave their lives in vain. I get tired as I bear the burden of my race, this country and the institutional ways in which we black people are marginalized. I get angry when the non-conversation of my white friends are so stirring! If there is a conversation, I’m usually the initiator, and often it’s met with excuses, platitudes and blame. Even in friendship, my skin color makes me invisible.I think I understand their response because the system under which we all function in this country, makes it crystal clear, for those who have eyes to see that there are injustices. The injustices are embroidered in the fabric of this country, despite what the Founding Fathers decreed! The system built on Lying. Stealing. Lynching. Murder. Rape. Slavery. We become complicit with injustices if we are not directly impacted. Most can live with it, because there are some intrinsic benefits to those injustices. There may be a nod to the atrocities of a news story; outrage; perhaps even a quiet feeling of the deservingness of the injustice! You may feel sorry, but you go back to life as usual. It’s the way we are – blacks and whites.However, I see an opportunity for my white friends to care enough to want to open a dialogue. To also shut up and listen! Not listen in order to… dispute… to give your point of view… to say how wrong I must be about my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings… but just listen. Listen to hear… to learn… to digest. Listen with your ears, your heart, your gut.JUST LISTEN!When you have listened, perhaps you will gain meaningful insights. Maybe have some thoughts, some ideas of how we can shift into action to bring about the necessary change that we all need to survive in this country. Maybe if you can close your eyes and pretend you see the bloddied body of your child, maybe you will be moved to protect and speak up for the rest of the village children. Our village is our sanctuary, we have to protect it, as we protect our children. My wish is that you have the courage to step out of your place of comfort, and walk to the other side of the tracks. What you do after you’ve made that step is entirely up to you. Your stepping out, is a beginning. It shows we can begin to create common ground. When you are as outraged about my child being murdered, as I would be about yours, I believe we can begin to build the society we deserve. We can leave a legacy that is worthy of our presence. You, my friends, have the power. Use it wisely. Are you in, or are you out?Article Source:

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