In the Whale Tale's dated 6/2/20, our former #10 Kaliya Johnson shared her thoughts, anger and frustrations on the issue of racism in the United States. Kaliya did so here in response to murder of George Floyd while in police custody. Once again the issue of race is front and center in our society, and we agree it should stay there. Protests, marches, and speeches cannot receive only token acknowledgement, and then we all go back to busineess as usual. Until the next black man or woman is murdered. It is time to keep the inconvenient truth of racism in the public consciousness as a nation. And in our hearts and minds as individuals. Hopefully the day will come when we no longer have to suffer the gross indignity of racism, but that day is not today. Here is what Kaliya has written
"There is so much to say as I wrote this over and over again. From the angry me, from the sad me, and the hurt me. So here it is, you get the tired and fed up me."
"I am hurt that I had to see another African American life taken unjustly."
"I am sad for the family members of George who had to watch their loved one killed on video by a cop with a vengeance as he pleaded for his life."
"I am disgusted that this isn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last, that yet another black person is killed because of the racism that has been systematically built into this country"
"I am angry because it took riots for people to finally start listening and seeing us."
"It should have never come to this, but it has."
“A riot is the language of the unheard” - MLK
"How I feel is all over the place, but what I do know is that my feelings are valid. I don’t always do well expressing myself so I decided to write a letter"
"I am sick and tired of seeing black people being portrayed as “thugs” in the media or being killed because of the color of their skin. Because guess what, I am one of those “thugs”. I am a black woman living in a country that has set me up to fail.."
"I don’t get the luxury of walking into the store that sells expensive things without being looked at like “she doesn’t belong here, she must be lost”. Or just simply not being helped because I don’t “look” like I can afford anything in the store."
"I don’t get put at the front of the restaurant if I decided that I didn’t feel like dressing up that night and opted for a more casual look of jeans and hoodie. I get put in the BACK."
" I don’t get to feel relaxed when I get pulled over by a cop while they question me about my car and if it’s actually mine."
"I don’t get to walk into a room and not be immediately judged by the color of my skin"
"There is so much more... Silence is complicit. Being complicit is deadly."
"It shouldn’t take me writing this for my pain to be recognized. I’ve seen posts on social media saying I’m with you and I see you. But not until something is done, and people are educated about the history of this country, then you will truly see me. Because trust me, that little history lesson you learned in school during Black History month doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface."
"Until you realize the cold hard truth about your privilege you won’t feel my pain. Here are a few differences between white privilege and black reality."
"When we are young and have “the talk” with our parents it’s not the same talk that white people have with their kids. At the age of 5 and 6 black children are no longer seen as handsome and cute but are suddenly seen as a threat. Black children, especially young black men, are told that when they are approached by an officer they are to put their hands up and announce who they are and that they are not a threat. And when we’re older and can drive, we are told to drive with our wallet in the cupholder and not in our purse or packet because we dare not reach for that bag while a cop is present. Reaching for a bag can be seen as a threat, simply because you’re black. I’m fairly certain that my white friends haven’t had to think twice about reaching into a bag for their license when they get pulled over. That’s called privilege. Look it up."
"Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I using my privilege for good or am I just going about my life?” Think about how you can make a change within yourself and those around you. If you don’t know how to do that, then let’s have a conversation. We all have biases, conscious and unconscious. It’s what we do and how we act on those biases that becomes the issue."
"Myself, and so many others, are tired, so tired, of having our loved ones die because people aren’t willing to stand up and make a change. I’m tired of people posting online when a murder happens and then forgetting about the injustice until the next murder happens. Black people are not a social media campaign that you can just jump on for clout. We are human beings and we’re tired. We are begging for change in this country we call home. So when all the social media buzz dies who will be standing by me with the same energy, focus, and attention to this?"
"I could be next...All lives don’t matter until black lives matter."
"Ways to take action:
"Have conversations with your friends and family about privilege Call people out when you see someone being treated unfairly and unjustly Donate to social justice organizations who are supporting black communities Have honest conversations with your black friends about your privilege and how you can make changes."
"Read books and educate yourself on the history of racism in America. Don’t only rely on your black friends to tell you about the racism they face."
"Be kind to everyone you meet. If you find yourself judging someone, stop yourself and think about how your biases are adding to the problem."
"Come November, vote. Vote for a leader and local leaders who will make changes for every American. All lives don’t matter until black lives matter."
"Research and follow new social media pages @theconsciouskid @shiftingtheculture Follow hashtags to stay updated on continuing action #blacklivesmatter "
"Continue to educate yourself"
These words you just read are from one of our own. One of our Pod. One of our Amazings.In her first few comments Kaliya says she feels hurt, sad, disgusted and angry. When we sat in the stands cheering for her, we expressed affection, admiration, and pride. We tried to express that with our voices. We would never have wanted her to feel hurt, sad, disgusted or angry with our actions at the gane towards her. And We would wager that if someone did, the rest of the fans wouldn't accept it. So why should this whole thing be any different away from the arena? You should nort have to represent a pro sports team to be respected as an individual. Former NBA star Jalen Rose recently said that he wished white people loved black people as much as they loved black culture. Changing what is in our hearts and minds on the subject of racism is critical in all phases of our society. And we need to look closely at our sport, the sport of women's hockey, where too often, only the puck is black.
Fins Up Forever Kaliya!
UPDATE. 8/5/20: in our continuing conversation with our amazing former #10 Kaliya Johnson, we discussed what comes after the sadness, outrage and sense of injustice. We have to find a watpybforward. But who exactly is we? Kaliya had some measured thoughts which we believe are important to share. She told us
"My personal opinion is that white people need to realize this and try and change. This is a problem created by white people and it needs to be fixed by them. Not only because they are the only ones who can bring actual change, but because black people are oppressed because of it. It’s not a problem we created or asked for. Once people realize it’s a white problem they need to fix, rather then a black problem they need to help, then we will get somewhere. Recognizing and owning is how we move forward" Recognizing and owning that it is a white problem, not a black problem."
That is also why keeping the issue front and center is important. Legislation is important too, but laws are broken quite often and can have loopholes or caveats. People’s hearts and minds need to change, so that laws are embraced. So that “We the People” means all of us. White people’s hearts and minds have to embrace who we really are, rather than who we pretend we are. .If the racism was only emanating from white supremacy groups, that problem could be addressed quickly. But if a person tolerates racism or ignores history, then they are culpable. They are defacto members of a white supremacy club. In our hearts, Cetacean Nation still want to believe that if a person can be good, then by extension, a people can be good. But it starts with each of us as individuals. We all have to ask, what's in our hearts.