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Fighting Fire with Water: An Open Letter to Rachel Dolozal, Dylann Roof, and My Little Village

Positively Speaking

Dear Rachel, Dylann, and My Little Village, Black culture welcomed you in?

I know what that feels like. Black people showed me how to live in the midst of the worst of white culture; white culture that lies and cheats and steals to get ahead and throws you under the bus, and exploits you to deal with their issues. People who are concerned with how they look, and who use money as power and a weapon.

And Dylann... you thought you had it all figured out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys and then you sat with them for an hour and they were nice to you and prayed for you and you shot them anyway? Your heart was so hard it was unwilling to change your mind? That’s a part of white culture too. I hear you almost didn’t shoot because everyone was so warm and welcoming. Almost...

‘Abhorrent’ is the word that will forever be associated with both of you.

I actually connect, can understand the warped insides of both of you.

Dylann, much to my surprise, this last December I was pushed so hard I thought I was going to snap. I called everyone I knew and said, “You need to be very worried about me. I am very worried about me.” I had three things that kept me from torching a major community down to the ground because I was so fed up. I’d put up with twenty years of ridiculous persecution and it had culminated in a situation so unjust I felt like there was no point in any of them living. I was terrified of myself. I had never ever in my life experienced feelings so dark and so ultimate.

Three things kept me from acting on those feelings: friends, impulse control, and resiliency. I am truly sorry for those nine people that no one ever taught you or gave you those things. That skill set would have saved nine lives.

Rachel...know where I learned those things, acquired that skill set for myself? Black culture. That’s right. I was the abused little white girl who got taken in by Black culture and taught and watched what it is to keep your self when you are being denigrated and berated, resist non violently when power tripped ( to use old lingo), to rise again no matter what, and to have faith, and that music will carry you through just about anything.

 Our Black housekeeper, Ethel, had a peace and grace infused in me over the long haul of living in a self absorbed, self congratulatory, unconscious white world.  Add a bi-racial friend and confident who loved me like no one had before, a naturally integrated high school choir, introduction to Black visual arts, literature, and music and I’m here to tell you the biggest influence for personal empowerment and growth in my life has been Black culture.

BUT Rachel....that does not make me Black. I’m a fair of face Scots/ German girl with French thrown in for good measure. My own people hurt me all the time but that does not make me able to pitch my DNA and history and experience. Like my faith is to Judiasm so is my race to Black. I am grafted in.

And you missed the most wonderful thing you could have done with that. You missed the opportunity to demonstrate how loving and caring and accepting Black culture can be towards the very people who enslaved and oppressed them. You forgot to lift them up as the givers and instead did the very very very white thing of making it all about you. That’s why you’re not Black. It was all about you.

And’re perspective and mindset on Black people and Black culture is just plain Wrong. Yes...that capital ‘W’ is not a typo. Wrong. The psychiatric world calls it projection.

But that rage is real. And here’s where you missed out. You were given love and support at a crucial moment. There was an opportunity to change your mind as your heart was touched. The people you called enemy had proven themselves to be other. Now, you are a living example of what racism is and what we need to change. All change hence forward will be based on you , personally.

Little heart really needed to gather with others here. There were no vigils or prayer meetings. No gathering at the four way stop with signs of solidarity. No black armbands.

We need to face the fact we are one of the greatest examples of racism White culture has ever produced. Ethnic restaurants owned by ethnic families, garden services offered by stereotypical race related groups, international adoptions and a few bi lingual programs do not count. In fact they just prove us to be more racist.

There are no Black businesses, no Black teachers, no Black millionaires with beachfront property.

Are we Rachel or are we Dylann? Time to walk the talk. It matters what we think. In our minds we are very liberal and open. But that is not how we live. If we don’t change. We’re part of the problem.

Love, and I mean that...