A protestor holds a sign outside of Baltimore's City Hall before a march for Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protestor holds a sign outside of Baltimore's City Hall before a march for Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protestor holds a sign outside of Baltimore’s City Hall before a march for Freddie Gray, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Salon)

Dear White America,

It is somewhat strange to address this to you, given that I strongly identify with many aspects of your culture and am half-white myself. Yet, today is another day you have forced me to decide what race I am — and, as always when you force me — I fall decidedly into “Person of Color.”

Every comment or post I have read today voicing some version of disdain for the people of Baltimore — “I can’t understand” or “They’re destroying their own community” or “Destruction of Property!” or “Thugs” — tells me that many of you are not listening. I am not asking you to condone or agree with violence. I just need you to listen. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to, but instead of forming an opinion or drawing a conclusion, please let me tell you what I hear:

I hear hopelessness
I hear oppression
I hear pain
I hear internalized oppression
I hear despair
I hear anger
I hear poverty

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