White People, Please Help

Dear White People,

If I could just have a couple minutes of your time, I would appreciate it. I know you’re busy. The thing is, I need a favor. And it’s a big one. I hate that I have to ask for this, I really do. I just don’t have a choice. The reality is that we can’t do this on our own.

Black people are afraid. We’re hurt. We’re angry. Imagine waking up almost every day and seeing that someone who looks like you was shot and killed by the police. They were waiting by their stalled car. Eating chicken in their back yard. Sitting in their car, reading a book. You do those things too, right? Wouldn’t you be scared, upset, and angry too? Knowing that simply walking down the street could end your life. Driving to and from work. Waiting for a bus. Never knowing if this quick trip to the grocery store will be the last time you see your family. Would you even want to let your kids out of the house? Your son or daughter could be killed walking through their own neighborhood. Coming home from a friend’s. Coming home from school. Isn’t that a paralyzing thought?

That’s just a glimpse into the life of millions of Americans. As if being black in America weren’t difficult enough. It’s harder to get a job if you have a “black-sounding” name. Blacks get worse treatment by banks, all other things being equal. Unequal treatment when trying to buy a car.

But now the people who are sworn to uphold the laws and protect us have turned. They’re killing us. Every day.

Our pleas fall on deaf ears. Protesting isn’t successful. If we take to the streets, we’re told we’re being disruptive and that it’s not going to help our cause. Peaceful protests like kneeling during the national anthem are met with the disregard.

We’re lost. We don’t know what else we can do. Short of no longer having melanin-rich skin, there’s nothing left.

We’ve been fighting this battle for so many years. We’re tired. We’re confused. We’ve tried everything.

So we need your help. We need you to see the injustice and talk to your friends about it. Put yourselves in our shoes.

Imagine the terror.

Imagine the grief.

Imagine the sorrow.

Imagine the helplessness.

We want the same things you do. We want to live happy, meaningful, and productive lives. We want our kids to grow up and be good people. We want opportunities for success. We want everyone to have those things.

But right now, we can’t. We can’t help anyone, because we can’t help ourselves. Working inside the system doesn’t work. Working outside the system doesn’t work.

As powerfully moving as Martin Luther King, Jr. was, as much as black Americans understood what he was saying because they lived it, it wasn’t until white people got involved that any changes came about. Despite the change in laws, many things are still the same. The power structure hasn’t changed. Black people still have to beg to get anywhere.

I am willing to beg for help. It is so horrifying to wake up and learn that another life has been lost needlessly. It is draining. It is demoralizing.

Please.

Please help us.

I know that I would help you if the situation were reversed. After all, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to working with you to bring about a more just America.

Sincerely,

            Your Half-Sister