11/27/2014 01:14 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST

Dear Angry White People, The Ferguson Protest Was Not About You

MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images
Demonstrators protest outside the Ferguson, Missouri, police department during the National March on Ferguson, August 30, 2014. The protesters demanded justice for Michael Brown, 18, shot dead in a fatal encounter with police in Ferguson, Missouri, a St Louis suburb, on August 9. AFP PHOTO/Michael B. Thomas (Photo credit should read Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

I won't go into the details of black groups being marginalized at the hands of white people who dominate the "center," because if you're smart enough to think that you fooled us into feeling remorse for "leaving you out" during the protest in Toronto (where organizers asked white people to stay in the background), then you're smart enough to do a Google search to figure out historical black oppression and its endless contemporary reproductions in the social, legal, historical, political, sexual, economic, psychological, and academic fields. (Phew! Now that this is out of the way...)

To ease your fuming about the other night at the pro, I'd like to say to you: you were not left out. You made yourself feel left out.

Some of you decided to rage and whine on the Black Lives Matter protest Facebook group about how this was segregation, and how your life matters too, and how we should screw ourselves if we don't want to include you. Well said, angry white people. But in case you haven't realized, everything in the world is already about you.

I'm sorry, but what are the substantial proportions of white people being shot by cops getting away with it right now? How many of you were lynched in the Antebellum South? Are your people being racially profiled at a rate of 3.4 times its population in Toronto? Hence, the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter.

Towards the end of the protest, you were asked nicely to move. A small act of kindness to let your fellow black protesters get a glance at the center (where many of couldn't see due to the large turnout). Some of us needed to see that center after such an emotionally charged day. After all, you had been standing there for 1 out of the 1.5 hour protest. I sincerely thank those who moved. Where I was located, as well as a few other spots, barely any white people budged. If you're having trouble with that, you either disliked having a black person tell you what to do, or you are so full of your white privilege that you didn't feel you needed to move. After all, you got there first, right?

When we asked the person beside us if we could touch their shoulder to show solidarity, that we have each other's backs, a white woman beside me (who also refused to move) hissed "don't touch me" at the young black girl beside her when she asked. If you don't like being touched, then why are you in a shoulder-to-shoulder protest about solidarity? To feel better about yourself? Don't chant about "no justice, no peace," when you're very presence is why we have neither.

Listen, angry white people. We welcome you to be an ally -- we need you to be an ally. But you need to check your righteous privilege (if you know what that is, since you're so comfortable in it) at the door. Black people don't ask for much -- we just ask that you recognize the multiple injustices done to us over time.

We forgive you when you talk endless crazy shit about our mere existence, and now you're mad cause we asked you kindly to step aside? At the protest, we asked you for one hour to come together in the support of a family who lost their teenage son to a white cop's gun. We came together because we all felt the blow of the jury's decision, and we mourned those black teens we've lost to white police officers, as well as the unfortunate many more that will die unjustly over the next few years.

One hour, and you managed to still make it about yourself.

This is not going to work, angry white people, if you continue to approach allyship with hostility and condescending behaviour. It's not your way or the highway. Stop infesting our Facebook groups and comment sections of our articles with your white whining. Stop making it about you. If you don't like what we have to say, remember the things you've been able to say about us so explicitly -- then leave us be.

Think of it this way: if there was an LGBTQ protest and you were a cisgender male or female, would you be as angry that you were asked to re-arrange yourself to give the primary space to those groups and individuals?

Think about it, angry white people. This is more about you than it is about us. And if finally having a space where we get to speak for and about ourselves instead of being misconstrued by your theorists, scientists, scholars, researchers, and social workers infuriates you, well then you can't be an ally. You're just not cut out for this. We kinda expected better of you. It's probably best that from now on, you just complain about our progress from afar.


Ferguson Protests