Im Not Racist.
“The Nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around….but only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On November 9th, 2016 I woke up and cried like a baby. I felt so defeated and depressed. So much fear welled up in me. I kept seeing my son, my godson, my students, and best friends hanging from trees or in jail, or shot by police. It was the most fear I have felt my entire life, and I have been through some pretty rough stuff.
The next day I walked into the SAP center, a huge arena in San Jose, California. Little did I know, I was about to have my life hijacked and flipped on its ass after attending Unleash the Power Within, a Tony Robbins intensive four-day event. I left feeling so empowered and determined to NEVER sleep on this issue again…RACISM.
So, why should a white middle class woman care about racism? I’m not a racist! Or am I? Dr. Brene Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, talks about the idea of wholeheartedness. She describes how wholehearted people are the most resilient to shame and fear because of a deep belief in their worthiness. It was time that I step up and have the courage to be wholehearted and talk about how I benefit from white privilege, therefore supporting the system of racism.
Now, before you start asking why would TheBlackMedia.org hire a white writer who is admitting she benefits from racism, let me give you a little history. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the wholehearted people that I cherish dearly. As I thought about honoring one of the world’s most cherished leaders, I thought what better way than to actually speak truth to power? As his birthday is celebrated this month, it is juxtaposed against the most bizarre presidential inauguration in my lifetime…or is it?
There are certainly many firsts with this new president…no political experience, multi-millionaire, or billionaire depending on what source is reporting, divorced two times, married to an immigrant, etc. But I want to talk about the elephant in the room…He’s a RACIST! But I want to argue that this new president, who I will not name because where focus goes energy flows, is not the first racist president our nation has had. In fact, racism in America would be just as bad with Hillary as president. And yes, I voted for Hillary, but not because I wanted to! I just didn’t want the other guy to win. Enter WHITE PRIVILEGE.
WHAT?? Christina Wallace, what the heck are you talking about? He has been endorsed by the KKK for GOD’s sake! Yes, I know what you’re thinking, just please bare with me for a minute.
My entire life, I’ve lived under the safeguards of my skin tone and blonde hair, and I can choose if I even think about race. When I wake up in the morning, I have a CHOICE! That’s what white privilege is, we have the choice to turn off any thoughts about race and racism. Sometimes I wish my skin was a costume that I can unzip and strip away. What us white people have not fully realized is that people of color can NEVER unzip from their skin, but we can!
We have the option, no, the privilege to walk into a store and not be followed. We can opt out of being denied a mortgage because of our light hue. We can say, “no thanks,” to our kids attending second class schools in crime-infested neighborhoods. We can drink water from our faucets without concern of lead poisoning. We can be assured that if a deadly hurricane or flood happens, we will be the first to be rescued. We don’t have to question everyone’s purpose or if we can trust them. We NEVER have to question someone else’s motives for how they treat us.
See, being white is like being plugged into the Matrix… and no one is free when even one person is oppressed. Systemic racism affects us ALL, not just people of color. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, “We have got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”
Wait, Wallace, what slavery? That ended, right? Today’s slavery comes in the form of mental, financial, spiritual, and emotional enslavement that has most white folk by the balls more than ever! We rather be in thousands of dollars of debt then question the system that put us there…so what’s the answer then? How do we as white folk start to be woke? LOVE. We have to love ourselves and listen to our hearts.
We have to become wholehearted, and have the courage to do what we know in our hearts is right, just, and true. We have to believe that faith can push us through the fear. Am I afraid? Hell yes!!
The information that I am going to write in this column, future blogs, seminars, workshops, films, and books is going to scare a lot of people. But my heart says write…my heart says teach… my heart tells me to love unconditionally and start to unite us at the most basic level of human needs: LOVE.
To quote another hero of mine, Tim Wise, White Like me: Reflections on Race from Privileged Son, “The power of resistance is to set an example: not necessarily to change the person with whom you disagree, but to empower the one who is watching and whose growth is not yet complete, whose path is not all clear, whose direction is still very much the proverbial air.” I am not trying to change anyone, or force some ideological crap down your throats. I am certainly not trying to give you a lecture on race and racism in America. What I AM asking is for other white folk to realize that racism hurts us all and only in unity can we all truly be free.
I want to say thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, and all those who have stood on the side of love, compassion, and justice. I am who I am today because of the fearless courage Dr. King had to face the most vicious hatred and evil known to man, and that hatred came from MY PEOPLE.
I thank God for Dr. King and all those who had the courage to show their LIGHT despite all the darkness. And that’s what I hope to do with this column, spread my light to help others see the way to end racism in my lifetime. Marianne Williamson says, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others,” I am shining light to illuminate that which I know other white folk feel in their hearts, that we have all been played by a system that keeps us divided. It’s time to unite and rise up to empower each other.
So, who will join me? Who will allow the light into your heart and live with love for others? Want to learn more? Join my weekly webinar and book study for a deeper look at racism and how to end it.
– The Phoenix
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© 2017 Christina Wallace The B.L.A.C.K Media