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Why “Dear White People”

I wrote my previous letter to white people. Because I wanted white people to understand what people of different color go through on a daily basis. Addressing ‘white’ people, I, in no manner insinuated that all white people are racists. I did not even try to claim that. My letter was to try and educate. Not racists, but all white people to try and explain to them that people of color are being treated differently, if we want to except or acknowledge  it or not. I am not saying YOU (the person reading this) is the racist, I am saying there are racists among us and that my one child is being treated differently than the other one because of their skin color. No other reason. I have two amazing, beautiful daughters, but they are treated differently because the one has a darker skin.

The letter did not say – dear white people you are racists, the letter said – dear white people please try to understand. Liberal or racist. Either way, until you have loved a person of color or lived with them in one house or have been out with them in public, you will not know. I never knew how much racism there were until we adopted. I have never been a racist, but I was just never aware of the amount of hate towards people of color there were. It shocked me to the core. And by “black people’ I meant every person of color. I have personal experience because my daughter are black. If she was brown, or Indian or any other color I would have written my letter from that perspective.

So please don’t think I am calling people out a whole nation as racists, I am trying to let a whole nation understand that this is happening and that is why people are upset. Not because of one silly woman with a facebook account that went finger happy. It’s a daily thing and that’s why people are upset.

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Dear White People

I’m going to try and explain how I feel, best I can. Today I am angry, sad, upset – but mostly angry. And I’m trying to not let my anger get the better of me. So I am writing you a letter to maybe, just maybe make you understand why it’s not okay to call a black person a monkey – or any other race any other name.

Put yourself in my shoes for one minute. I’m sitting here with my beautiful child playing around my feet. She is loving, intelligent and compassionate. She and her (white) sister is the lights of our lives. The two are the reason I get up in the morning and the reason I don’t go to bed at night.

Okay, so here you sit, with your innocent child playing around your feet. All of a sudden somebody comes up to you and tells you that your brainless idiot child’s skin (and those of her friends – I quote Penny Sparrow: black on black skin, what a shame) is a pain to her. But it’s okay, at least she is a cute little brainless idiot – we all know that is what she meant by the word monkey. Putting a nice spin on it, does not make it okay. And don’t tell me not to take it personally, I quote her again:” from now on I shall address the blacks of SA as monkeys.” That includes my child. And sure as hell, if you mess with my child you mess with me. Don’t tell me to not take it personally, Don’t tell any other person of color in this country not to take it personally. She personally attacked each and every person of color in this country.

Most white people in this country have NO idea what it is to live ‘on the other side’ of the color barrier. You don’t have to worry that your loving child might want to hug another child, because you never know if their white parents might freak because your little ‘monkey’ touched their child. You don’t know what it is to walk in a mall and hear somebody call your child a kaffir or a pittekop. You don’t know what it is like to have to be nervous around other white people because you never know what comes out of their mouths because they believe they have the ‘right’ to just say the first thing that comes to mind. To be told in your face that it’s your and people like you, who is at fault for the state of the country because you treat ‘those barbarians like people’. They should have stayed in the bush where they belonged.

This is not somethings I am thinking ‘might happen’, these things and lot more happened in the last 2 years. My child has been called a black beauty (and not in a positive way), all of the above mentioned names, ‘that thing’ etc. She has NEVER harmed anybody in her life. Her only ‘fault’ is that her skin is black. She has no idea of all of these things happening around her and it’s my job to keep it like that. So don’t tell me to ‘chill’ about it. If it was your child, would you?