*Just because you attend a rally or protest and lend your voice to chorus of those chanting that “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean that you really mean it or that you are using your white privilege for good. Similarly, just because you’re a registered Democrat and you gave money to the President’s campaign doesn’t mean that you can’t be a racist.
I’m sure that producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal didn’t intend to be racist as they joked back and forth in emails about the kinds of movies that America’s first Black president might like.
The leaked email exchange between Rudin and Pascal involved a discussion about a fundraiser breakfast with President Obama Pascal was to attend. They assume that Obama, because he’s Black, would prefer movies featuring blacks.
She suggested Django. He suggested 12 Years a Slave. She came back with The Butler.
“Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart,” Rudin replied.
The latest batch of hacked Sony emails has brought into the spotlight once again the inherent racism that continues to exist within the Democratic Party and with white liberals, many of whom have jumped aboard the Black lives matters bandwagon.
Over the past several weeks I’ve spoken with and watched hundreds of white people march through the streets of Los Angeles holding signs and chanting the phrase “Black lives matter.” I even had one woman recently tell me how she was using her white privilege for good by being out in the streets with those decrying police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black men.
But the reality is that while it’s nice to see so many white people genuinely concerned with the plight of Black people, their white privilege could better serve the same Black people that they care about behind closed doors when they’re at work.
If Black lives really matter I need for all of the white people in the position to hire someone who is Black to do just that—hire an African-American. If more Black people are working, that means that more Black lives are being provided for financially.
And if Black lives are so important, those same white people who work at banks and approve home loans should be willing to work just a little harder to see to it that Black families trying to buy their first home aren’t denied a loan. Their counterparts who make the decisions on who to rent to and who not to rent to can help the cause by seeing to it that more Black people are approved to rent apartments even if those apartments aren’t in the ghetto.
White people show that Black lives matter by using their privilege to admit more African-Americans into their colleges and universities.
The organizations and non-profits working to better the lives of Black people and who are actually run by Black people should always be funded by the same liberal white people who are chanting today that Black lives matter.
The lives of Black people aren’t just a trend or the latest catch phrase to put on a shirt to sell and make money with.
For Black people it’s a long overdue movement lead by a statement that has meaning and purpose.
White people can best support the theory that Black lives matter by putting it to a test and by actually doing the things that demonstrate that Black people matter. Our lives matter enough to hire, cast, lend to, rent to, give to, and accept into. Not just while it’s a trending hashtag and the news media is there.
As for Rudin and Pascal’s little email exchange, maybe now Black people will begin to challenge the Party that has benefited from their blind allegiance on it’s own issues with race. Writing a check to the president’s campaign coffers doesn’t absolve you from being a racist.
Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator who has cultivated a national following. She can be reached at www.jasmyneonline.com and on Twitter @Jasmyne.