Stop Confusing The Finish Line With The Race (@jtimberlake)

Stop saying “we are all the same.” “We’re all just one race. The human race.” I had to write this because Justin Timberlake said something ignorant.

Jesse Williams’ speech had nothing to do with kumbaya, we’re all the same, let’s all love each other. He was addressing the racism, bullshit, murders and injustice Black people have to deal with. The problem is, Justin, you being a white person, completely skipped over this part and just went straight to the finish line – the part where we finally defeated racism and we can all be treated equally. That’s a nice fantasy, but we don’t live in that. It’s not reality. We want it to be. That’s the difference.

The part we’re living in right now, is the race itself. The part where we have to do all of the hard shit. The running, the protesting, the endless conversations and arguments. That’s where we are right now, and every time you say “we’re all one,” you are completely ignoring the current struggle that we are living in. No, Justin, I didn’t take your tweets out of context, no one did. And it’s not the “forum’s” fault. Which again, is you just ignoring what you did and just blaming it on us. Because clearly, it’s not possible for you to benefit from racism, oh no no no no no no no. That’s not possible. So you disregarded that person’s tweet with “oh, you sweet soul” – which is actually really fucking condescending.

Simply imagining this fantasy of racial unity in your head and wishing we were there is not actually going to get us there. We’re still in the race. So, we need you to focus on that. Nothing else. The thing is…you get the privilege of not having to live in the race. You just demonstrated it with those tweets. You get to shut it out and walk away. We don’t.

Does it make sense to have to tell someone to clean up a mess that they didn’t make? No. It’s unfair, right? Right. So why do Black people have to fight the battle of racism? Because we certainly didn’t create it. Yet, Black people are the ones out here having to make risks and plunge ourselves into the filth to try and get it cleaned up. But we shouldn’t have to. Because we didn’t make this mess.

Does it seem fair that you get to sit in the sidelines, simply watching us run the race, sitting in your comfortable and expensive home, with all of the benefits and privileges a rich (white) person? Oh, you’ll cheer us on, but you won’t run the race with us. You won’t run. You don’t want to face the risk of tripping and hitting the pavement. You’d rather stay comfortable. Do you honestly think you’re helping by doing that?

I’m not talking about charities, that doesn’t solve the particular issue I’m talking about. I’m talking about your white privilege. Justin, if we’re all the same, why are we running on the track, and you’re sitting up in the bleachers? Watching us? I thought we were the same, doesn’t that mean you should be down here with us? Or we should be up there with you? I’m confused. You’re not making any sense. I thought we were all one human race. But I get called a nigger. And you don’t. I’m confused, Justin. I thought were all the same. Shouldn’t that mean that racists should be calling you a nigger, too? Why does that only apply to us? You said we were all one race. I don’t feel like that’s true. I’m made to feel like that isn’t true. So can you help me understand this, Justin?

Why do you get the freedom to simply watch people suffer, and not deal with the same torture and torment? Is it because the color of your skin? If that’s the case, shouldn’t you do something about that?

What? It’s not your fault, you say? You didn’t ask to be born white? Well, sure. I didn’t ask to be born Black. Neither one of us asked to be the color that we are. But do you want to know the difference? I can get killed simply because of the color of my skin. Not you. So, neither one of us asked to be the color that we are, yet I suffer because of it, and you don’t. So, again. I’m asking you. Don’t you think you should do something about that?

Not just the fact that someone else will harm me, but also, the fact that you, as an individual, have the freedom to walk away, unharmed. See, that isn’t on me. You might want to say that it’s on the racist. They shouldn’t be racist. Well, sure. But they are. So. Should I have to do something about it? Or should you? The one standing in the middle between hate and suffering.

See, that’s white privilege. Giving money to charities doesn’t fix that. Preaching “we are all one” does not fix that. You have to fix it. Because the racists aren’t going to. And as Black people, it’s not our job. So that leaves you. You telling them to stop. You running the race, instead of us.

This requires you to not only point the finger at racists, but also at yourself. Because white privilege exists in both directions. Does your behavior, or your lack of actions, help the Black community? Or does it ultimately add to the detriment of our community? The way that you ignored and blew off that person on Twitter, with the millions and millions of followers you have seeing it, does that help us or hurt us, in the long run?

Justin, you’re white. You wanna know what you have in common with the white racists? You both have the same skin color and you both grew up looking at life through that particular lense. Theirs is just filled with more hate and ignorance. But underneath all of that, it’s the same lense. White. Watching racism, instead of experiencing it. So as a white person…do you really think you don’t have a responsibility to do something?

You don’t want to run this race with us? Why? Because you don’t want to experience the bullshit we have to deal with? Well, first, you never will, even if you are running beside us. The worst you’ll get is being called a nigger-lover. And you lose some of your white fanbase. That’s pretty much it. Black people, on the other hand, are getting killed. It sure would be nice to pass this baton along to somebody else, and let them run the rest of the race…so I could continue to live. So I could stop, and go sit in the bleachers and catch my breath. Don’t I deserve that? After doing all of this goddamn running?

Or do I have to keep running until the day I die because you just don’t want to?

Take that “we all need love, we’re all one” – all of that positive energy and understanding, and put it towards the people who are trying to point out your white privilege. That would allow you to actually listen. And learn. Instead of getting up and walking away.

Tell me something!