I saw Shannon Sharpe’s passionate talk a few weeks ago and it was at that moment, that I *really* saw it. I could really see it. Before, I vaguely supported Kaepernick just on basic free speech grounds.
But from the point I heard Shannon Sharpe and beyond, I’ve been allowing myself to see things that was just out of sight for me – things I *thought* I knew, I *thought* understood, but I didn’t.
So i make it a point to educate myself more daily. I don’t have to go far. It’s right on my FB news feed. I can’t say even now that I fully understand the depths of it because I *haven’t* spent my life dealing with this issue on a daily basis as a black man. I’ve always been a white man. I’m fine with that.
I’m also fine that *if* someone sees an injustice, they HAVE to do what’s right for them. It’s _not_ for me to say either way.
Of course i can have an opinion. It happens to coincide with Shannon Sharpe and many other people.
But whether I agree or disagree (and I do agree), it’s not my call to say, “You should protest like this. You should protest like this. This is appropriate protesting, This is inappropriate protesting.” *It’s not my call*.
This was the hardest thing for me to fully digest. I’m a white male. I’m used to saying, “And this is how things are and how things should be and race doesn’t matter can’t we all get along (insert MLK Jr. quote)”, ENTIRELY BLIND to my participation in the process by refusing to acknowledge that, yes, race *does* matter.
Being white, I’m lucky. I don’t *have to* think about race most of the time. This is part of white privilege. I can go about my life never having to concern myself with injustice.
But if I chose to concern myself with it, it’s not now suddenly my job to say, “Ok, I’m here – white guy’s here: Now listen up guys: here’s the plan”.
Nobody asked me. I chose to raise awareness when I can but that’s my choice. I have the luxury of also choosing *not to* raise awareness.
It’s _not_ life or death for me. I don’t deserve kudos or congrats or “Hey, look at that white guy, he’s with us, yay!” I’m realizing now that it’s important to *me* to acknowledge my participation in ongoing oppression. It’s important to *me* to be supportive when I can. But by no means is anybody obliged to pat me on the back for it. At one time, I would’ve expected a congrats, like the husband who empties the ashtray once a month and expects the wife to keep thanking him for it when she’s cleaning crap up daily.
It’s for this reason as well that I’m understanding better campus safe spaces better. I never had a problem with them – I’ve been aware of them since 1990 and I was cool with the lesbian floor below with all the weird signs and stuff. They need a space, go for it.
Yet here’s the point I’d always miss: Nobody needs my permission or opinion on the matter. Even here. But I like to hear myself talk, so…