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An Open Letter To My White Male Facebook Friends

December 10, 2014 in Blogs

By Cera Byer, Salon

I'm pleading with the good guys in my world to stop being so defensive and listen to other people's experiences.

This post is for my white male Facebook friends.

Some of the most disturbing, subtle, insidious, racist comments I’ve seen over the past few weeks have been from my white male Facebook friends. I know a lot of my friends are just mass defriending people, but I’m not quite there yet, because I’m (foolishly, naively) hoping I can reach some of you in a way that creates some kind of change. I know, I know, who ever had his mind changed from something he read on the Internet? But here I am, tilting at windmills.

First, let me say, I’m not addressing you to put you on the defensive. I don’t want to fight. But I really am hoping to reach your heart. So please start with holding what I’m going to say in love and openness, and see if you can let this reach your heart before you fight it with your brain meats.

Next, let me say, this doesn’t apply to all of you. There are some great allies, advocates and freedom fighters among my friends, and I ask you to join this discussion.

OK, let’s do this.

My white male friend, you might actually believe in your heart that you are not racist. You might actually believe that this country is full of equality and justice, and get offended at the idea that it’s not, so this might be really difficult for you.

When people tell us that something we believe to be true is actually not 100 percent true, or maybe not true for everyone, we can experience cognitive dissonance. One way to respond to this is to walk away, or get defensive. Another way to respond is to compassionately lean in to it; lean in to our discomfort, our fear, our panic, our incredulity, our doubt. Open ourselves to the idea that our beliefs are just ideas that we go out and seek support for, and therefore there are other ideas out there that could become our beliefs, very easily, …read more


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