Social Justice

Nappy Thoughts by Aisha Adams

What I Want My White Friends to Know about Racism and Our Friendship

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TITLE: What I Want My White Friends to Know about Racism and Our Friendship

AUTHOR: Aisha Adams

PERMISSION TO PUBLISH granted by the author.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota after White police officer Derek Chauvin, assisted by other sworn officers, suffocated Floyd by keeping his knee on Floyd's neck for nine minutes in an emotionless show of force.

Four months later, in Asheville, North Carolina, Aisha Adams went on her personal blog Nappy Thoughts and shared some thoughts and feelings that had been building inside her during the summer and early fall. "People have been asking me specifically what they can do," she says at the beginning of her video, "and so, I wanted to come in today and just be very transparent with you."

You can click below and see the full 39-minute video.

Important timestamps are as follows;

  • 0:54 - "This is actually a video for my White friends."
  • 1:57 - "If you take my words, and you misconstrue them as the only way to do something, you are going to be mistaken."
  • 2:43 - "This is what I wish my White friends will do. I'm going to share five tips. Five things I want to see my White friends do."
  • 3:43 - "You don't have to validate who you are to me...I need to see you out in your own communities with your own people and telling them how much you hate racism."
  • 4:43 - "Number two: I need you to listen...There are more people marching than who have followed the MLK Association, than who have followed the Racial Justice Coalition, than who have followed CoThinkk, than who have followed Equity Over Everything."
  • 6:45 - "The third thing I need you to do is be sincere...I'm not expecting you to cry for every Black person, but I am expecting you concerned at the rate of poverty and hunger in our city. Be sincere in your activism if you want to see movement."
  • 9:29 - "The fourth thing is share money and resources...This actually is the first thing, but I wanted to ease you into it."
  • 11:45 - "The fifth thing you can do is become a student to humanity, to equity, to diversity, and to inclusion...This is not going to be an easy road...Long after the protesters go home, long after George Floyd is in the coffin and there is dirt over his have to still be committed to these five things."
  • 15:18 - "How can you shed a tear for George Floyd, who you don't even know, when there are kids who aren't eating every day in our city?"
  • 18:39 - "I hope that you see that I am angry. That I am not OK...I'm actually not trying to be OK; I'm trying to thrive. And in order for me to thrive, I need you to do your part. And in order for you to do your part, I have to be honest with you. And that is hard. It's hard work for people to have to come to you and tell you the truth. Because it's not nice. And it's not pretty. It's just the truth."
  • 23:14 - "This is not just a moment in time. This has been going on for me for 40 years. I have been dealing with racism and oppression for 40 years. So how dare you tell me that you love me, and yet you are marching in the streets for a man you barely even know. It's just disrespectful and rude. Especially when, as a woman, I have to be your neighbor who volunteers with you, who stands next to you, and you don't make sure that I get equal pay? That when the funding comes down, that people in my community get fed?"
  • 31:22 - "Y'all be so woke, you can't learn nothing new. You're so woke, you're not a student to humanity. You're not a student to equity, diversity, and inclusivity."
  • 32:20 - "We've been programmed to be against each other. I'm supposed to say, 'Look at this White privileged person. Let me eradicate that.' And you've been raised to not even pay me any attention and to keep moving. And we are all deprogramming... Please do not act like you are an expert...We're all learning every single day."
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