Dr. Rewa Burnham ’05, Assistant Professor of English, replied to my previous blog on the shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the police officers in Dallas with this short essay:
“The protests in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and Baltimore, Maryand in 2015 did not prevent Alton Sterling and Philando Castile from being murdered in 2016. Protests by black people do not matter. Protests will not prevent the agents of the state from executing us.Throwing away our hoodies will not work. Pulling up our pants will not work. Turning down our radios will not work. Getting advanced degrees will not work. Begging will not work. Getting all of our taillights fixed will not work. Taking our children to church every Sunday will not work because Black people are not the problem. Poor people are not the problem. Latinx people are not the problem. We have so much power, but we do not hold the solution in our magical hands.
“White privilege and the violence necessary to preserve it are the problem. Those with access to that privilege must use it to condemn, to write, to speak against injustice from their own perspectives. This era of lynching will not end until white privilege turns against itself.
“I do not know when change will come. But, I am sure that we cannot wait. We cannot waste time negotiating for freedom, for air to breathe, for time to watch our children grow. Those things are already ours. Toni Morrison says that “the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work.” Our time is short, and we must avoid distractions. We must, right now, engage in radical acts of love and self-preservation. We must, today, prepare ourselves to do the work that calls us. Only by “doing our work” can we feel how much our lives truly do matter.”
What are your reflections and recommendations for action? Click the comment link below or send your short essays to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publish them on this blog.