The Words of Good White Liberals

By | June 17, 2017

What are your thoughts, good people?

This is really hard for me to read, because it is easier to talk about racism and to march against racism than it is to do the hard work of confronting racism *in our own lives*. It’s my opinion that we want to tell others how to fix it in their lives, because by God we’re all fixed. We have such good feelings and intentions.

And yet, an example to bring pause…

Philando Castile, a good and gentle black man, was shot to death last year. His death was caught on film, he did everything we white people told him to do–stay calm, announce you have a gun, don’t provoke–but the police officer saw him as a threat, then shot and killed him. And the officer said “I was afraid,” and the jury believed him, and the police officer *is back on the force* where he will come across other black Americans he will be afraid of.

A man who was alive one moment and dead the next.

My black friends are besides themselves with rage and grief, and it is especially cruel to them to hear their white friends say “I understand how you must feel” and “racism is so wrong.”


What they want to know is will we actually *do* anything *in ourselves* to examine our racist feelings and racist viewpoints, and will we do the work of changing the feelings and viewpoints so that we act differently and force changes in our society?

They see these emails as evidence that we are word-only liberals.

I’m not telling anyone what to do.

For me, words are great for communication, but words are not great to effect changes.

That takes other actions.

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  • Getter.

    “For me, words are great for communication, but words are not great to effect changes.”

    Every movement of social change throughout history has used speech and language to spur people to action.

    I’d point you to Martin Luther King’s speeches throughout the civil rights movement as a particular example. They played a huge part in the movement’s success, not only in cementing the movement’s ideas and beliefs, but as an incredibly effective tool for inspiration and mobilization.

    Action is what we need the most in the face of such injustice as our epidemic of shootings of innocent black men by police, but the presence of words do not mean the absence of action. Without words, action will not be taken.