White Silence is Violence

Trigger Warning | Racism

Hey white people, racism is everywhere and I know you know that. I know that you see it. I am a white girl from Tennessee, and I see it. I need you to admit that you do too. More so, we all need to stop pretending it’s not there, and speak out.


Around age 6, I heard the N word for the first time.

I remember hearing people discuss the “colored people” who moved in down the street, and saying things like, “I will like them if they are nice and clean” or “Oh, I'm not racist, I'm just saying.

At 12, a family member asked me if I knew what the NAACP stood for…I can’t even bring myself to tell you how they filled in the blanks, but they sure thought their joke was funny.

In high school, a friend that I had known for 10 years went into full rant mode one day about how it would be better if “black people were still our slaves because they were monkeys anyway, and what else should they do” all because a black person cut them off in traffic.

Classmates said the N word as easy as any other word. “Oh I saw Christie the other day, she is dating some N WORD.

No one even flinched. I remember being uncomfortable by all of this, but I never said anything. Why would I? I am white. They weren't talking about me, they weren't hating me, berating me, dehumanizing me…so it’s not my problem, right?




Just last year, in the height of the Michael Brown/Ferguson shooting, someone asked me “are you still coming over tomorrow or will you be too busy going to that Black Lives Matter rally downtown ha ha ha ha ha” and I got angry. I mean...WHO SAYS THAT?! My thoughts went to, what in the world makes them think that I am a person they can be racist with? That is when it hit me. They include me in their racism because I have never given them a reason to think they shouldn’t. They are racist with me because they have been my whole life, and I said nothing. White silence is a vital tool in the spread of hate and racism, and when I recognized that from my own life, it was hard to look at myself for a while.


Racists are racist because they're showed that it's okay to be. It goes beyond just saying that it is their generation, or that they were raised that way. Racism is something they continuously choose, but all these years of me saying nothing in the presence of their racism, was like me saying to them, “it is ok to include me in your racism” and “I am ok with everything you are saying."  

They felt comfortable being racist, because I never made them feel uncomfortable for it.


Racists and white supremacists are becoming braver in the wake of our current administration and the racist things he has said and done (ex. the travel bad, the wall, “we don’t want them here” etc.) He has emboldened them, and this is no time to be silent while he continues to do so.


White silence is absolutely violence, so let’s not be silent anymore. Stand up and speak out against racism.


If you don’t know what to say, here are some docile things I say:

“I’d appreciate it if you wouldn't include me in your racism.”

“That was really racist and uncalled for.”

Or if you’d like a more direct approach…

“Hey, stop being a racist.”

“Fuck racism.”

“I am done with your racist shit, Brad”


It takes no longer than 2 seconds to make it very clear where you stand, and that it is not with the white supremacy, it is not with hate, it is not with an archaic and barbaric belief system based on ignorance. If I have seen racism, if I have heard racism, then I know you have too, and the time for silence is over.


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” -Desmond Tutu





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