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January 30, 2018

Silence is Complicity: We're breaking up.

Now errybody kno I like white man buh I done wid them n dis is why.

On October 20th, 2017 I ran home to post a blog about what happened at the supermarket. A racist cashier told my boyfriend to speak Dutch to me  or "they" never learn. My boyfriend said nothing. He was visibly angered by the event and cursed a lot on the way home but he said nothing to the cashier. On January 18th a man sat at my kitchen table and joked that I was the slave of the house. My boyfriend said nothing and neither did my housemate. I decided to leave the situation because my house is partially my workplace and I did not want to make a scene. However I was annoyed. What bothered me is that no one stood up for me. No one asked him why he thought that was ok. In that moment I realized that my boyfriend and I had been through more awkward situations and he said nothing. I thought more about it and realized that it is not just my boyfriend but EVERY WHITE person I've met since I moved to the Netherlands. The pattern is unnerving.

I am that girl who helps the old ladies at the grocery store. I stand up for people regardless of their religion, gender or ethinicity whenever I see injustice. Yet somehow it seems as if while I am willing to go out of my way for others no one is even willing to say simple words like "that's not funny" or "that was racist".  My feelings on this matter all came to a head while talking to a new friend about Jackie Aina. He said that her video with Alyssa Ashley was a boring topic. This is literally a video that started out saying that the brand does not care about black people. While I am aware that most men would call beauty videos boring I was shocked that he as a white man could not see what the black girl was seeing. There's a saying that Statians say a lot "he who feels it knows" and never has it been truer. White people don't care about black people's racial struggles. It simply cannot be important to them because they do not understand.

I am aware that this sounds harsh and I know that it is also human nature but at some point and time we all have to be honest with ourselves. Do you care that black women are forced to spend double on beauty products if you're not footing the bill? No. Do you care that the Rotterdam police just came up with some new way to fight crime by asking citizens dressed in expensive clothes to prove that they obtained the item they are wearing legally? Not if you're white because technically white people do not fit the profile of being poor. So if you're white you cannot care because this will in no way affect you. If you do not have to speak to your child about how to act in a white neighborhood and how they should not wear a hoodie, walk in groups or by themselves why should you care? You cannot care that good schools systematically shut out minorities by raising their school fees. These conditions and unspoken rules simply do not apply to you.

Here's the funniest thing, you either read that last paragraph nodding or feeling attacked. If you felt attacked please know that you're not racist, you just place your race above others. If you are white and you're not willing to stand up for one cause that does not impact your race or if you can't even think of one you are a part of the problem and I see you as person who chooses to hurt minorities. It's really simple. If you hear your neighbor yelling at his kids and you hear things being thrown and you turn up the television you're not a bad person. Unless, the neighbor ends up raping and killing his kids one day all because you never turned down the TV, knocked on his door and called the police. Your silence can make you a killer, rapist or racist. Your silence can make you complicit.