THE CONVERSATION I HAD WITH A WHITE WOMAN
“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and [segregation], it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings” ~ Nelson Mandela
First, Stacy Dash suggested that there shouldn’t be a Black History month. Then, Jada Pinkett- Smith had Black people around the world on social media like: “#Oscarssowhite”. And let’s not forget how Beyonce’ shutdown the internet with her controversial Super bowl performance causing journalist, Tomi Lahren to make claims that the Black Panther Party was a terrorist group. We’re only three months into the New Year and the “Black and White” issues are heavy on everyone’s mind, now more than ever. I am excited that people are talking about these issues… not just Black people. With that said, I welcomed the conversation I had with a friend of mine who just so happens to be White. For the sake of my friends privacy I will refer to her as Lisa.
My latest blog article, “Why I regret going to College” sparked a conversation between Lisa and me. She asked me why I felt the way I did. I paused, thinking of a watered down answer because I really didn’t feel like explaining “race issues” to someone who wouldn’t understand. However, I decided against it and laid out all the reason for my attitude. Long story short, I explained to her that Black people are paying for an education we won’t get to use because Black people are the last on the list to get picked for a job, owned and operated by White people. I then went on to say that Black people would benefit more if we owned and controlled our own businesses. Lisa pondered what I had to say and her response was horrifyingly….hilarious. “Well, I worked at a call center and it was mostly Black people and Mexicans. There were less than five White people working there.” Her comment took me off guard and I’ll admit, I laughed for a long time. Once I calmed down, I let stats speak for themselves. I explained that although the unemployment rate is down across the United States, it is still astoundingly high for Black people. I won’t go into detail about these stats because this article isn’t about the African American unemployment rate. This article is about how the world see’s us.
After continuing my conversation with Lisa I realized some White people think Black’s are just whiners, throwing around the race card to get ahead. She went on to say that she knows she missed out on job opportunities because of affirmative action so she can relate to what I’m saying (errrrrr????!!!!) but she also thinks that Black people are provided with the same opportunities as White people. Lisa went on to say that slavery was a long time ago and she doesn’t understand why “We” haven’t put the past behind us. After all, we have a Black president (side eye). I wasn’t angry with Lisa’s assumptions/opinions about racism. Racial discrimination and prejudice is something she’s only read about in history books. “It’s history” to her but not for the millions of Black people who face racial adversity every day.
The moral of the story is this: I think it’s important to educate everyone about race issues in America. These issues are subtle and insidious…small systematic changes that affect the Black community and it is people like Lisa who unknowingly play a role in the progression of racial discrimination simply because she feels it doesn’t exist.
Ignorance is not bliss. Should Black people make it a priority to educate White America on racial injustice?
Toni Larue is an author, entrepreneur and women’s empowerment advocate. She is the author of fiction novels, Abandoned Secrets (available now) and No Kissing (release date TBD), and the co-owner and COO of Team Jon Doe Management and Entertainment and Sounwave Music.
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