Use the Guilt

Dear white colleagues and friends,

Sometimes I think you place WAY too much pressure on yourselves. You do not represent all ignorant folk, just like I don’t represent all people of color. I think white guilt serves a purpose in that it is the person of color’s “woke” equivalent.

White guilt means awareness. Once you are aware, you then have choice. You can decide to live in that guilt and allow it to weigh you down constantly; or you can use it as the catalyst for change in your life.

I sit and observe you daily. I watch the inner struggle, and for some of you, I feel your pain. It is hard to come to terms with the reality in which we live. I imagine it is even harder when you realize the very real role you play in that as well. Do not be mistaken, I do not feel bad for you. Just like I do not want you to pity me or the students we teach because of their position in life.

I don’t need you to apologize for all white people. I don’t need you to walk on eggshells and not ask questions. I don’t need a handout or a pass from you. I also don’t need you to feel like you have to be “down” to be respected by people of color.

I do need you to be yourself, own your actions, and constantly reflect. It isn’t your job to fix all of the wrongs and sins of the past. But, you do have a duty, just as I, to ensure a more equitable future for generations to come. I want you to ask questions motivated by goodwill and the pursuit of knowledge. I do not want to be asked about my hair, skin, or soul food.

Guilt is a fickle lady. She can cause a wedge that pushes you farther and farther from the truth. I urge you to live in truth.

Take your guilt, and make it work for you.

I am an angry black woman, and I am trying my best to use that anger in productive ways.

My anger motivates me to stand up and fight for equality. My anger motivates me to remember who I am, and where I come from. My anger pushes me to achieve.

Don’t just be a guilty white person. Use the guilt to motivate and eradicate hate.