Dear white friends
What if, while it is true that all men and women are created equal, not all people are being held down by a knee on their neck?
What if it is because we are white that we must speak?
What if women need boys and men to march with them to overcome the scourge of sexism?
What if Jews need gentiles to make those words ‘never again’ mean anything at all?
What if the wound of racism will always fester in the deafening silence of white people? What if?
What if it is the juxtaposition of a white hand beating the drum of Black. Lives. Matter, or a conservative at an anti-fascist rally, or a grandfather at a women’s march, that’s what really strikes fear into the hearts of oppressors?
What if it is because we are white, because we are ‘other’, that we have power to help a black sister or brother?
What if lockdown has taught us to reflect on the kind of people we are, what we stand for?
What if there will be a time when we will have to confront how we treat our old people, our health-workers, our immigrants, our poor – but right now we are being called to see the grief and anger in black communities’ eyes, to listen to their quivering voices, to feel their pain.
What if our job is not to sympathise, but to empathise – we must feel with all our heart – and while we can breathe, we must raise our voices. Again. Again. Again.
What if the social contract that Trevor Noah speaks of has been severed not just by so many brutal acts of violence, but by paying lip service to hollow words of equality? What if?
What if heartfelt words, words that permeate passion and compassion, words like ‘you matter’ and ‘I am so sorry’ are the beginnings of a new social contract? What if?
What if I am so sorry and I vow to allow my own prejudices to be healed, and to be inspired to do better and be better, by those three powerful words:
Black. Lives. Matter.