geez black lives matter
“White Silence Kills” Theresa Zettner and Midwest Catholic Workers shut down baseball traffic calling for Justice for Jamar in Minneapolis.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

An attempt to grasp for words when it feels like there aren’t any.

I’ve never seen
A gun.
up close
In my face.
Never seen one drawn
In threat
Or aim
Or play
Or hunt
Never heard the trigger
Or felt the fear.
It is my privilege upon privilege upon privilege.
They aren’t in the homes
I frequent
Often with a commitment to nonviolence.
Yet I know that too
Is privilege upon privilege upon privilege.

Yet I think of friends
Who threw parties
To celebrate the surprising arrival
Of 25th birthdays
Free from prison or death.
Or how there is no
“right” behavior or words or look
To avoid police brutality
Just the unpredictable
Hand of time
On the clock of white supremacy.

Story after story after story.
Life after life after life.
Black man. White cop. Gun. Death.
Forces my tongue to silence
A silence deep and haunting
Heavy on the heart
A silence worthy of holding
In moments of
Such destruction
Of lives and bodies and skin and communities.
Yet it is
My privilege upon privilege upon privilege
That allows for such a silence.
A silence that immediately becomes
Bystander to the unstoppable
Jaws of a
To serve
My skin
And delight
In my silence.

“What you talking about?”
Says my 3 year old
Hearing the grief and outrage in our voices
We stumble through with clarity
To a child still oblivious to
Systems of race and violence
Police or guns.
Privilege upon privilege upon privilege?
But he knows about hurting people.
He knows about it
When the water shut offs happen
Or when people don’t have homes or food.
Here we say again, “people are hurting each other
Again and again and again.
We need to find a place
To go
And stand
And say

I am a white person
College educated
English speaking
US citizen
And a Christian.
Privilege upon privilege upon privilege.
And I’m a mother
And a Detroiter.
I garden
I write
I sing
I bake
I feed my babies
I grieve the dead
And I bring it all
My privilege and my humanity
My silences,
My words,
My body,
My life
And I give it
Towards the total dismantlement
Of white supremacy.

One thought on “Silence

  1. Pingback: White lies | over and around the rainbow

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