June 11, 2020

Dear White America,

I am writing a letter to you because it is not my place to tell POC how they should be feeling or giving instructions to them about what to do next, but I think you need to hear this. We have privilege. That is indisputable and has caused so much harm since the birth of this country. That privilege runs deep and affects the way we think, feel, act, speak, and listen. It is so entrenched in who we are, many forget it is even there and that is how you know it is powerful. Another thing that runs deep in White America is apathy which holds the same amount of power and is just as threatening to progress and people’s lives. In not saying anything, you succumb to your privilege and de facto give fuel to the system in place. In not saying anything, your whiteness becomes something others have to fear. In the past few days, I have felt possibly the most shame I have ever felt in my life. I am ashamed that this is the world we live in, I am ashamed of the inherent rights that my skin provides me, and I am ashamed of my race for the crimes we have committed and the infinite second chances we have been given. But at least that head-buzzing-wide-awake-at-night kind of shame means that I have not fallen victim to apathy and to my privilege and for that I am proud. I know I can be better and I will strive to do just that, but at least I feel something and care about something important. White America, find that feeling within you. Feel ashamed and disappointed because that means you see what must be done and you will not opt out this time, like some many others have done before. One of the smartest people I have ever met once said to me, “just because you are disappointed doesn’t mean you stop doing what you do.” White America, you have the privilege to decide “what you do,” so please choose wisely. I hope part of that “do” includes taking instruction from POC, continuing the conversation with other white people, and using your privilege as a weapon for good. Too many times have we allowed our privilege to control us and drive us towards apathy, please I am begging you, take control of your privilege and get to work.

With hope for better days to come,

Cate Goodwin-Pierce

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