Kol Or Statement on Racism and White Supremacy
“This conversation is designed to be uncomfortable to discourage people from talking about racism in a meaningful way and from denying a system of white supremacy altogether.”
Since March 21, People of Color have been a disproportionate amount of the labor force as essential workers, a disproportionate amount of those laid off, and a disproportionate amount of the cases and deaths of COVID19 during the pandemic. We have been subjected to being disrespected as articles have downplayed our numbers as Jews. We have endured as our brothers and sisters have been assigned exaggerated charges, been manhandled, dehumanized, and murdered. Then we were made to watch, collectively holding our breath, as a grown man called out for his mother shortly before dying because of the actions of a police officer.
The systems of white supremacy and the ways in which it negatively impacts our lives, has laid bare for all to see since 1619. For centuries, we have continued with resiliency as we maintained a semblance of normalcy caring for ourselves, our families, shopping, cleaning, and raising children. For centuries, we raised our voices and cried out for respect, for humanity, as we protested and were met with yet more violence and indifference. Now we are subjected to the white supremacy of those in our lives and on our timelines. This white supremacy plays out not in physical beatings or tear gas, but in the people on our timeline waiting to hear the other side. In bringing up irrelevant things from the victims’ past. In focusing on the minute details to desecrate their humanity. In ignoring the grave injustices altogether.
This conversation is designed to be uncomfortable to discourage people from talking about racism in a meaningful way and from denying a system of white supremacy altogether. We too become uncomfortable not just in addressing this with white people, but with ourselves as well. We have to unlearn the internalized oppression and biases ingrained in us from a young age from my community, media, and society as a whole. This is not the time to put your head in the sand or pat yourselves on the back for being affiliated with a social justice organization no matter how surface level or deep that involvement. It is not enough to not be racist; you must be anti-racist. Being anti-racist isn’t only about calling out people for their mistakes, but acknowledging and fixing your mistakes as well. As the anger of communities of color boil over from the oppression, disrespect, and violence they have experienced, it is time for you to uplift those voices, defend those with less power, and fight white supremacy head on in a way that doesn’t transfer the labor of that work to People of Color.