Ron Clark and his talented students have made national headlines with their impressive and informative dance routines. Now he’s going viral with a lament spurred by this week’s shootings of two black men by police officers. “My heart breaks when I think how the beautiful and strong students I work with are basically one bullet away from becoming a #hashtag,” he wrote in a post that was quickly shared nearly 20,000 times.
Here’s the rest of his message:
“I see racism through a different view; I’m a white man who watches my students as they are treated with caution, disdain and misunderstanding. Views of who they are are formed instantly by their appearance, and brilliant young children are often frowned upon as being thugs. I tell my students to say yes sir and to smile when dealing with the police and that everything will be okay, but I am losing faith in my own advice.
I can tell you all, white privilege is real because I experience it both in noticing how I am treated and how those who don’t look like me are mistreated. When only white people are in the room some people feel comfortable to make horrible and stupid comments, and the biggest problem is that they aren’t even aware of their ignorance. We, as white people, have to be leaders in this movement to end the racism and misunderstandings. If only African-Americans speak, I promise you, people only hear the “angry black people who are being ridiculous.” It takes white people to have the courage to speak up when you hear racism and let others know it’s not acceptable. The cops out there who are racist have had their thoughts fed into them by family members and friends who were also raised to have those thoughts. People aren’t born racist; their community makes them racist. We, as part of the community, have a duty to stand up and speak out. We all must stand against ignorance and let our voices and options be heard before those we love become #hashtags as well.
Posts like this by African Americans are seen in the eyes of many as angry rants. Posts like this from white people will be looked at differently. It is our obligation to stand up.
Where are the white people at?
Don’t be silent.”