Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thoughts on Being White | White Racism and Music for Trayvon

There isn't much to be said right now that hasn't been expressed by African American leaders throughout the nation. WhatUpWally? stands in solidarity with Trayvon, his family, those outraged by this injustice, and those linking the murder of Trayvon Martin to the history of systematic injustice in America. 

The story of Trayvon Martin is the story of race in America. It is a story that white America has written and perpetuated. Many of us at the WUW? office are white and we accept our responsibility in perpetuating this system of racial injustice and commit ourselves as individuals as well as a collective to illuminate white racism as it exists in reality everyday.


Racism cannot end until whites in America recognize and accept responsibility for creating and continuing the American system of racism. In a time like this, we think it is important to listen to and learn from the voices of outrage coming from the black community. The media and individuals have too quickly attempted to silence talk about race by shifting the conversation to the "legal system." 

How can we learn if we don't understand - how can we understand if we don't listen - how can we listen if we tune out those who live with and speak of everyday racism?

And so we listen, to the words of Bakari Kitwana :

"The verdict didn’t come as a surprise to me. Living as a Black man in America has a strange and steady way of changing your perception of this nation as a refuge of justice. Politicized by America’s attitude toward Black men throughout my entire life, I have never received any social cues from my childhood years into adulthood that this nation values the lives of Black men, or Black life in general.

To the contrary, what is constantly reinforced and restated in everyway imaginable is the idea that in this country a white life is more valuable than a Black life. It’s part of our educational structure. It comes screaming daily through our news media, our criminal justice system, and from all three branches of the federal government, be it the Supreme Court, Congress or even the president himself." (read his full article here)

And we listen, to the artists capable of painting pictures that cut through rhetoric:

Although hip hop music is often scapegoated as a source of violence (which is another manifestation of white racism) it should be embraced for its power to speak truth with power. There has been a great outpouring of support from the music community (check out the article at Okayplayer). Here is a few of the tracks that have been released. We suggest that you put these tracks on rotation, reflect, and discourse about the the reality of racism. 

And we listen - it IS about race,

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