Over the past week and a half we’ve seen a surge in interest from White people to be part of the narrative on racism. I’ve watched as Black people exercise restraint in discussions, but occasionally the question on everyone’s mind will slip out.
“Why now? Why are you suddenly interested in taking action NOW?”
My first reaction to this question was defensive. Don’t you want our help? We’re trying to stand with you.
But the question stuck with me. Actually, why now? Why this death? Sure there have always been White people ready to engage in the fight against racism. But never in these numbers. We’re experiencing something new right now.
I think we have Amy Cooper to thank for that, oddly enough. She wasn’t wearing police gear and “just doing her job.” She was a white woman, dressed in yoga pants, walking her dog.
Amy Cooper looked a lot like me.
Her power was on full display that day in the park. She knew it, Christian Cooper knew it, and anyone who’s seen the confrontation knows it. If Amy Cooper has that kind of power, then as a White woman, so do I.
That realization has been both uncomfortable and eye opening.
When footage of George Floyd’s murder circulated around I couldn’t just dismiss it as cops “doing their job.” And I didn’t have to. Amy Cooper showed me just how much power my white skin has.
To my Black brothers and sisters, I’m sorry it’s taken us so long to get here. We can’t pretend to understand the full magnitude of what your realities are, but we hear you, we see you, and we’re trying to catch up. I know you’re tired. Take a rest if you want. It’s time we carry the load too.