To Robin DiAngelo:
We address you specifically, not because you act alone, but because you stand now as a figurehead of a movement, a representative of a particular school of thought—one among a few others, to be sure. We want to say we recognize that you are racist, and we’re ready to forgive you for it.
You proudly proclaim your racism in your writings, as so often racists do. We have read your work and can see the racism dripping from every page. We think you might be right, though. Maybe it wasn’t your fault. Maybe you were “socialized” into it. That’s not true of all of us, though, and saying so isn’t fair, and it isn’t right.
We understand the impact your work is having. You would turn us against each other by teaching us to see how we’re all “complicit” in a “system” of racism. You would have our children become obsessed with racism and poisoned with it. You do this so that you will not feel so alone. And for this crime against us and our children, we would like to sit down and have a word with you.
Many of our children have been led astray, taught to obsess over race, to attempt to see it all around them in every interaction and every object around them. This has only happened in recent years under the “educational” direction of “anti-racism” advocates such as yourself. We’re terrified. Those who have fully embraced this poison may be lost, possibly forever. They’re our children, and they’re already turning on us. Imagine for a moment how that must feel for every parent, every sibling experiencing this right now.
We write this in the pale hope of saving them, not to save you, and to stand in true solidarity with one voice—brown, white, and even black—to deliver a very simple message to you.
You are wrong.
The United States of America was not built for white people, and it most certainly was not built by white people, as you, yourself, seem to know so very well. But it was also not built by people of African descent, or Latino, or Asian, or by men, or women. The United States of America, was built by all of us. All of us striving as best we could for a common dream that seemed impossible to achieve, as our founders, whose memories are being trashed for it now under tutelage like yours, fought valiantly to bring about. The United States of America was built so that all people could live free; so that every individual could strive for happiness, community, freedom, and a better world for their own children.
This American journey was built brick by brick, law by law, for hundreds of years in this country, and it was built even over thousands of years long before any such country existed. It is deeply rooted in the history of all peoples, as we made mistakes, survived hardships, and tried to answer the questions of how we could best live. And from this history, these mistakes, these hardships, and these answers, we learned. From this knowledge rose a nation—more importantly an idea. We built this, all of us, together, and we can enjoy it, together. We’ll take the good and the bad, along with that of our ancestors from every corner of this planet, and we’ll keep striving, like Americans, to do better.
So, the message we want to say to you, Robin, is simple. No.
No. We will not sit in our homes in terror as everything our parents and their parents before us worked so hard to build gets torn down. We will not let your racism infect us all and tear us apart. We will rise up and say in one unified voice: NO.
We reject any world that fosters nothing but hate and division and seeks to destroy the legacy which was handed down to us, which our people—all of our people—built and grew into together. We reject your attempts to steal our voices and redefine racism through your white, or now brown, fragility lens. We forgive you for your racism even as we reject your racist language used against us, when we attempt to object. We can see how you treat us, telling our white spouses to hate us and us to resent them, making them suffer, making them believe they are oppressors who oppress us, who they love. We can see the blatant racism in all of this, and your word games can not hide it. We’re not so stupid as you seem to think.
We want you to know, that we see the harm caused by these racist ideas and we say, NO.
We will not shut up; we will not be silenced; we will not be intimidated by white children bamboozled by the insane racist ramblings of a woman who can’t handle her own racism; and we will not accept your racism being projected onto all of us. You may have to live with your racism, but no one else does.
To each of you that hears us, it is up to you to decide what to do now. You are an individual, but we should remember that we are all in this together.
A group of professional brown Americans (if you must know) who worked their way up in a free country. We cannot sign our right names because, thanks in some significant part to you, we know what will happen if we do. Those who feel they can, can add theirs in the comments.