Editorial: I am done explaining why you’re a racist

by Olivia Samples, Director of Marketing

“If you say all lives matter, actually unfriend me because I surely don’t want to be friends with you anyway. Bye *peace sign emoji.”

This was my Facebook status recently as anyone who is friends with me knows. Per Facebook protocol, comments followed. A classmate wondered why the statement “all lives matter” was racist and why we couldn’t just have equality. There were a few well-reasoned responses and then mine: “You are ignorant. Get your racism off my newsfeed.”

As a black person at a predominately white institution, I am done explaining your racism to you.

In the past two years we have been bombarded with black bodies. It seems that just as we start to recover from the last, a new video emerges. And while this keeps the conversation happening, it causes two problems.

First, it causes us to become numb to the violence that black men and women are facing every day. This is not your videogame or your action movie. This is real life and death on your screens.

Second, it exposes the ugly truth of our culture. We are centimeters farther from Jim Crow. People are screaming for their right to display the confederate flag. Athletes taking a stand for racial injustices. Black bodies are piling up in the streets for the crime of existing.

Understand that it is heartbreaking to watch people who look like you die over and over again on your screens.

A black person is killed in America every 28 hours, according to a study by MXGM. And almost weekly, the video of the killing is force-fed down our throats. We are asked to write opinion pieces to explain our frustration and Facebook has a field day.

Each time a black person is killed, someone who I might have considered an acquaintance posts, “All Lives Matter” or any iteration of the phrase. There are some indicators to their ignorance. They seem to forget history; as if this is a new phenomenon. They seem to not have the word systemic in their vocabulary, viewing each death as an isolated event.

Although they might have opposed MLK as much as they do Colin Kaepernick. They chose the right side of history and quote Martin Luther King Jr. They say peace (read as: silence) is the answer.

Here is a MLK quote for you: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

As a black woman, at a primarily white institution who has patiently answered your questions and understood your racist ideology, I am done.

I refuse to continue to explain why the lives of my family and myself matter. Why Black Lives Matter. I refuse to explain how the description of Trayvon Martin wearing a hoodie at night is painfully similar to that of my brothers. Why the description of Eric Garner or Alton Sterling is the same as my father.

How I notice salespeople watching me in stores, how I always use my turn signal so I don’t end up like Sandra Bland, how I want to scream when someone tells me that racism is in the past.

I understand that not everyone can grow up understanding the complexities of race relations in America. I understand that you might still not understand some of what I’ve said. And I surely understand that there are some of you who plainly don’t care.

At this point, you’ve had the opportunity to learn. You have had the chance to understand someone else’s view. And if you haven’t, shame on you and please, unfriend me.