Unmute yourself: A message from your white friend

This is a blog post I wrote on my new blog, These Mountains We Climb. But since I feel so strongly about it and still have blog followers on this blog I started out with, I wanted to post it here as well. Please follow my new blog for more frequent and recent updates. Love to you!

I’ve been scared to write.

I used to blog at least once a month. I’ve been blogging since 2011. I’m known for being mouthy on my blogs, tackling sensitive issues, and being quite opinionated. I came from a Mormon conservative blogger background to a political, hands-in-all-pots, I’ve-got-something-to-say, Most-liberal-republican-you’ll-ever-meet blogger.

But then BLM happened.

The trend of police brutality.

Masks versus no masks.

Women versus men.

The economy crashed and drew the line in the sand of leftists versus the far right.

And phrases like this happened too:

Mute white people.

If you’re white, you’re privileged.

Dear White People: bla bla bla

All Cops Are Bastards

Rethugs and Libtards

I won’t go on, but you get the point. Everyone is so triggered, so cruel, so ready to swoop in and tell you to shut up if you don’t share the same opinion or come from the same group. Just like the Nazi’s used to say about the Jews, “If you know one Jew you know them all”–that’s what I’m hearing from all camps now.

And for a few months now it has frozen me. How could I write anything and not be persecuted? I mean, look at my track record–despite my heritage that I’ve deeply researched and have strong bonds to (Hawaiian), I’m white to everyone who passes me. I’m a female. I’m on the younger side. I’m middle class. I have a job and I have a business.  I was never bullied that bad. I’ve been pulled over maybe three times in my life and have never had an issue with it. I got good grades in school. I have a degree. Two little white boys. A good husband.

my fam

I don’t have a story that reeks of oppression, despite struggles I’ve had and things I’ve gone through. I get it. But I’ve literally been told that because of these factors, I need to shut up. So I have shut up–until now.

I realized today the real and only reason behind why people are behaving the way they are is the same reason I stopped writing.

Fear.

Why do some people call all cops bastards? Because they’re scared of what’s happening within their own race. They are scared of the injustice. They’re scared of being pulled over, being killed, and being another statistic. Instead of combing through good cops versus bad, it’s easier and safer to stay away from them all and to paint them over with one stroke.

Why do some people tell white people to shut up and that they don’t matter or count? It’s because they’re scared. Scared of racism. Scared of injustice. Scared of being judged, being discounted, being told how they should view their own history. Instead of judging each individual over their character and recognizing the good populations within the Caucasian demographic, it’s easier and safer to group them all together as the people who know nothing, do nothing, and make life harder for people of color.

Why do some people tear others down because of simple statements like “All Lives Matter”, even when they believe it too? It’s because Fear is fueling a huge majority of the Black Lives Matter movement, All Cops are Bastards movement, and dozens of others. At the heart of each of these movements is goodness and sincerity, but the thousands to millions of people within the movement often move and act within fear and take it to an unhealthy level of propaganda, shame, fear-based followers, and extremism.

We’re so terrified of one another–we’re so nervous about saying the wrong thing and also scared of being mistreated because of the narratives, the horror stories, the thoughts passed down from generations and the images we see on the news and in our Facebook feeds and even in our own lineage. Fear is the opposite of love. So when we aren’t loving each other it isn’t because we are necessarily hating one another. It’s because we’re scared. And I don’t want to be scared anymore.

It’s ok if you don’t agree with me, and it’s ok if you are so unlike me that it couldn’t get more opposite–maybe you are black, liberal, living in a rough part of town, and the brother of a man who was shot by a corrupt cop. Maybe you are gay and have been terribly abused and harassed or shunned by your own family. Maybe you are the leader of ACAB. Maybe you have trolled someone on social media who you deemed as “racist”. Or maybe you are a republican wearing an American flag and going off about the national anthem debacle.

I don’t care about the differences. But I am starting to care deeply about the fear that leads us to hate.

As a white person, I have a lot to say about black lives. Sorry, but it’s true. I won’t virtue signal and talk about all my black friends or all the ways I’ve helped. I’ll save my breath on that. But I WILL say that I feel strongly about equality, about taking the time to listen to the stories and find solutions. I feel strongly that those affected by brutality or trauma need to be heard, seen, and helped beyond a black box on Instagram or a hash tag. I can sit in silence like I have been, because I’m white–but I GUARANTEE that if one of my black friends were getting harassed right in front of me, they’d want me to say something. If one of my gay friends had a slur hurled his way, he’d want me to step in. If a family member of mine who is a cop was called a pig while I was standing right there–you bet he’d want me to care about it.

So why can’t I speak out on this forum too?

We live in the age of outrage which stems from the era of fear, and we have to crawl out of our dark primitive holes and face the light, as well as each other. We have to stop cancelling out what one another says and we have to take more time than the three nano seconds it takes to type out heated replies. More understanding and less fear will lead to a decline in racism, intolerance, hate groups, and generations of scarred children who would never have been traumatized without our biases and judgments and fear-based ideologies.

Our fear is literally damaging our children.

The other day my family and I visited the memorial of Officer Jonathan Shoop, a young officer that was shot in the head while sitting in the driver’s seat of his police cruiser by a young BLM activist that called him a pig before taking the deadly shot. The responses to his death was disgusting. Some said he deserved it, and others responded by saying he was one of many who is part of a broken system that deserves to be weeded out. It wasn’t until a beautiful friend of mine who happens to be African-American AND liberal-leaning AND active within the BLM movement made a statement against the horrific statements about Officer Shoop that I realized she used her voice to erase the line in the sand and to prove that she can speak for black voices and reform while also speaking out about police lives and how they matter and deserve justice as well. I was proud of her when I read the post, and proud to know her. And it was a teaching moment for me that I cannot stay silent, just as she chose not to. She is part of a community that may often speak against cops, but she didn’t care. Just as I have to stop caring. We need to stop living in fear and start leading in love.

blue life

Use your voice. Get louder. Don’t mute yourself and pretty it up by acting like that’s the only way you’re being accepting or tolerant or fair. You aren’t doing people of color any favors by being quiet or reserving your opinions. Don’t black yourself out in order to shine a light on someone else. A candle doesn’t lose anything by lighting another candle, and we all deserve to be lit.

My “white” voice can stand for black voices, and I should hope they stand for me. Despite corruption in the system, we can speak out for the officers who pledged themselves to doing good and protecting and serving and not be so fearful that we can’t even discern anymore what’s a humane reaction to an unwarranted death.

I am sorry for muting myself. I’m sorry to readers of my blog and to my boys, who watch Mom and who want Mom to be brave and who will someday pattern their own voices after the one who taught them to speak up. I want to continue to speak out and speak up, even if I’m not part of a certain class of people. I’d march with Martin Luther King as a white girl and I’ll lay flowers at a police memorial without a badge. I’ll shoot gay weddings as a straight photographer and gush over their love. I’ll donate to campaigns that I didn’t create and I’ll stand for platforms I have nothing to do with. I’ll stand for a woman’s right in the workplace to fair wages and equal treatment while also raising young men at home of virtue and love. Because my voice matters too on many different levels. And when black lives are in danger or blue lives or any other life along the way, my voice will matter in the fight.

It takes all of us in order to change any of us.

One of my favorite biblical stories is a story we’ve all heard countless times of the Good Samaritan, but rarely do we dig deeper into the story to see what it’s really telling us. The man in need laying in the road had two people of his own race and his own country pass him by. It wasn’t until a Samaritan came upon the man in need that any help was given. Samaritans were known as the “bad guys” of the story. They were often cast out by the Levites and had a bad reputation at the time. But the Samaritan didn’t see anything except for a man in need. So he helped anyway. He stopped in his tracks to help someone in need regardless of what that man or any of the passersby would think. In this story we often think of it as a simple parable of one man helping another. What we fail to conceptualize though is that it was the “bad” guy helping the “good” guy and neither of them caring about the color of skin or the reputation or the nationality because in the end, right is right and good is good.

samaritan

So in all my “whiteness” (as I’ve heard multiple times now) I’ve decided to stop and lend a hand when it’s needed, even if dozens of people shout at me from the sidelines that help is needed–but not from me. I’ve decided to keep talking. Keep writing. Keep loving. Keep showing support and keep condemning the same patterns and routines that the KKK and Nazi regime fell into all in the name of “progressiveness”. Hate and fear aren’t progressive, and until we can fight for the human race above anything else, we aren’t going to be part of a group that’s different than the hate groups we condemn.

So, judge me in all my white-girl glory and tell me I don’t understand and my griefs are not yours. Tell me to shut up. Tell me I’m privileged. Tell me that no one cares what I have to say. But I’ll keep talking, because I’m not scared of you or anyone else.

If I was scared of you, I’d hate you.

And I never will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Unmute yourself: A message from your white friend

  1. I like what was said. People are people. Ignore the skin color. There are good and bad among all. I don’t care about your skin color. I do care if you are a good person. Someone I would enjoy as a friend or a neighbor. Yes, I’m white but I have black relatives, Hispanic relatives, Native American relatives and they are family. I have friends from many different backgrounds and that is good. We have different outlooks and enjoy sharing them. We need to quit fighting amongst ourselves and unite in our efforts to keep America great and free.

  2. I like what you have written, Kayla! How true is all you said! We moved in May from Pocatello. ID. to north Central. ID. 6 miles east of Orofino. ID. We have 16 acres here. I know this is your blog, so will keep this short. I haven’t heard from you in quite awhile, and happy I did today. You have my email and if you send a request to my email I will give you my cell number. Beautiful photo of you, husband and two cute boy’s! Love you very much! uncle Larry

  3. Recently saw the musical “Hamilton” and was so touched by several of the songs/raps about there being room for different kinds of people to live together on the earth and the finale about how death eventually claims us all…..sinners and saints alike….and will we each choose to do something worth retelling to keep our legacy alive even if we’ve been mistreated and lived in circumstances that were difficult to endure. So impressed that those in the arts choose to pull together “goodness” and values to teach the world!

  4. Well said, Kayla. All lives matter, and we do all need to stop fearing to speak up. This was a refreshing read this morning.

    Best wishes, Janice

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