Longer

Shoulder To Shoulder

I am not black; this much is very apparent upon a quick scroll through my social profiles. But in the wake of the recent violence our country is experiencing, my color has been of more consideration to me.

Despite how much my parents or I make a year, I am privileged. I have never known the worry of being stereotyped or labeled. The white stereotype (if there is one to begin with) is bland and boring; a stereotype easily overcome with a few minutes of small talk with a few jokes interspersed. I have never had to worry when I get pulled over for speeding. I have never known the worry of people placing me in a category of lesser worth because of my skin color. These wrongful snap judgments are something I have never known and likely never will.

While cop lives and all lives matter just as much as black ones, this is not the time for such talk. To claim this (as a white man) in the wake of tragedy is to pull the veil of ignorance over my eyes, and inadvertently tell the grieving that their pain does not matter. I cannot (as a white man) claim to know the level of suffering and injustice that my black brothers and sisters have felt over the last 200 years. But my hands are not tied.

I am to grieve with the grieving, not claiming their struggle, but striving to understand it. And once the grieving ceases, if it ever does, I am to actively work towards finding solutions to the problems at hand.

I am to think outside of myself and the life I have lived for 22 years as a white man. To stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters of all colors in the midst of their tragedy, and let them know that they are loved and their voices matter. All from a place of love, not of hate.

Let the voiceless find their voice.

Austin Kilcullen