This morning I have to serve as our college department’s representative at a virtual open house for perspective students. As I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking it probably would not be politically correct to wear any of my #BLM gear. Instead, I put on my ODU Game Day Professor shirt I was given by the women’s soccer team when they invited me to one of their games.
ODU is committed to diversity. I know this. I serve on one of their committees committed to institutional change in issues of race and equity. So why was I concerned about wearing a T-shirt that read “White silence equals white consent / Black Lives Matter”? Even though I know the Dean of our college is a champion of issues of race and equity, I was afraid that I would get called out on being too political. Now mind you, these are my fears and are not founded in any truth other than the systemically racists world view that comes from white solidarity.
I’ve changed from my ODU Game Day Professor shirt into my #BLM “White silence equals white consent / Black Lives Matter” T-shirt to break from that white solidarity this morning. It is what I will be wearing for our virtual open house.
Humorous post script to this post. The meeting I was all a dither about that I talk about above isn’t until next week. Well … at least I already know what I’m going to wear.
09-26-20 In my post researching antiracist strategies, I said I would be journaling about my read of Me and white supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor (Saad, 2020). I’m at Starbucks this morning beginning that process, in full kilt regalia, wearing a “White silence equals white consent / Black Lives Matter” t-shirt and a Black Lives Matter mask. I was going to write about being tired of feeling like the white poster boy of white resistance in the fight against white privilege, but for the first time since I started this journey over a year ago have I finally seen another white person in public wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.
To be true, it is tiresome to get up be a political billboard for racial justice and equality, but then I have to remind myself that I can hide behind my white privilege. I can take off my BLM T-shirt and mask, but black and brown people cannot take off their black and brown skin. The microaggressions I experience for being an activist for the past year are nothing compared to outright aggression my black and brown brothers and sisters have experienced since 1619, when the first ship of enslaved African bodies landed at Point Comfort.
I have to remind myself of the Scripture I read this morning from Hebrews 10:35. 36, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”. Let me be clear, I do not do this for a reward of any kind, I do this because it is the right thing to do.