Dear White People

Dear White People,

Sometimes I am compelled to reach out to the rational side of white people. In doing so, I am either fooled or pleasantly surprised. Hopefully, today ends up with me being surprised.  It is my hope that this creates healthy dialogue for change.  Change begins with you deleting the word Nigger and any derivative of the word from your vocabularies.

Background.

I went to school and played pee-wee football in a very diverse town, Covington, La. The city, like most towns in the South, is separated by train tracks. On one side of the tracks, you can see extreme poverty. While on the other side of the tracks, you can see an affluent, thriving, up and coming city. Some may argue that these types of barriers no longer exist in the town. For those that make that argument, I ask that you speak with the people on the poverty side before making any final decisions on your thoughts.

Late Night/Early Morning Trolling.

As I often do, given my busy days and sometimes restless nights, I found myself catching up on the lives of folks via their Facebook posts. Sometimes my inspiration comes from people from my hometown stepping up to the plate and accepting their responsibility as parents and citizens.

Currently, its college season, so all of the high school kids are disclosing where they will be attending school in the fall. For me, that’s an exciting time, I know its “Lame,” but it’s the little things.

To My Surprise.

I ran up on a post by someone I played pee-wee football with when we were younger. A cool white dude that can relate to the “struggle.” Meaning, he’s a very involved dad according to his pictures on facebook, and when we have politically inspired conversations, he’s usually the referee between the far left and the far right. I’d always admired him for that. So when I did my “Facebook friend purge” he remained as he’s never exhibited signs of being a racist person.

The Heartbreak.

 

Well, heartbreak might be an oversell, you get my point. It happened after seeing my friend repost a Meme, and it had the N-word in it. I was stuck for a good five to ten minutes. I couldn’t believe my former teammate would post something as racially insensitive as he did. Initially, I was pretty burned which is why I took to my blog. But, in doing so, I thought it best to use this instance as a teachable moment for other white people that insist on using the word “Nigger” casually like they have ownership over the word.

The Reality.

White people should never use the word Nigger, Nigga, Niggaz, or any derivative of the word. Black folks shouldn’t use the word either. You’ve heard the term of endearment argument. We have also listened to the Nigga/Nigger argument. Any case for the usage of the word is moot at this point. It’s a painful memory of what your ancestors did to ours. Not to mention, America is not morally sound or just for Black and Latinx folks at current. Racists systems and strategies still permeate our society.

Concluding thoughts.

While I don’t wish to isolate my former teammate for his actions, I do want to remind white people of how wrong and hurtful this word is to black folks. We continue to see tone-deaf behavior from kids wearing blackface and all sorts of things that are racist I ask that you have tough conversations with each other. This is where the change begins. I can write all day about how offensive it is for you to use the N-word, and mimic our culture with caricatures, etc., but at the end of the day, if you don’t see it as wrong, it becomes a perpetual cycle.

Author: Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.

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