There seems to be a very powerful contingent (see e.g. "White Fragility") that would suggest that as a white man my only job is to be instructed; that the answer to your voice being silenced is for mine to be silenced. That's when it becomes nearly impossible to keep listening.
Hello and thank you for reading. I highlighted this portion of your comment because I think it's a good representation of how a lot of White people, men in particular, feel about this discussion on racism. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and I hope you'll bear with me while I attempt to respond.
To be clear, the relationship between White men and Black women in this country is quite complicated. White men sit at the top of the totem pole and yield all the power over not just Black women, but in essence all women and also Black men. There is no level playing field when it comes to Black women and White men and it's not my desire to even tackle that relationship. My desire is to advocate to eradicate racism so that my future generations will not have to suffer as my ancestors did and I have during my time on earth thus far.
No one, at least not I, has ever said that White people are responsible for every woe experienced in the Black community. But it is a fact, however, that because White people benefit from what THEIR ancestors did in this country, there is a responsibility that White people have to acknowledge racism and use their privilege to work to correct it. I write about this at length in an article entitled "But I Never Owned Slaves."
I have no desire to criticize you or any other White person. I simply want to tell my truth and, like you, not be SILENCED for it. I write a great deal and I have spent more time responding to things like this than actually finding people who want to work with me to fix the problem. I've spent my life tiptoeing around White people, not saying something that may offend THEM, while I have to bit my tongue and hold back tears for something racist that I had to pretend didn't happen.
I have to hold my breath every time my 28 year old son travels, hoping he won't encounter a racist cop. I have to pray that both of my children will be treated fairly, because even though they are college-educated with degrees, this country will not give them the same benefit as their White counterparts who may be inept and have less education. I could go on but only those in a position of privilege and power can effect direct change to these situations. And in America, that is the majority White population.
These conversations make White people go on the defensive and what happens is we as Black people have to spend all of our time comforting and assuring that YES, they will be heard, YES, we won't be rude to them, NO, we won't silence or criticized them. Meanwhile, the subject of combating racism and making it safe for my children to grow up in this country gets lost. Yet again.
So I do appreciate your response, however it would have been nice to just have a fruitful conversation. If your feelings would be hurt at the thought of being criticized or "silenced" (and I put that in quotes because I have yet to see the White man silenced anywhere in my lifetime) then you could not be a part of the solution. Take some time to review all that Black people have endured, mentally and physically, in the fight for equality for centuries. If we thought having our voices silenced would be too much and make it "nearly impossible to keep listening" to anyone fighting for our freedom, we would still be in shackles.