WHAT'S UP?! Pittsburgh Resolves to End White Silence
Throughout the last 6 months of demonstrations and protests of police violence, activists all over the world have adopted the phrase, “Black Lives Matter.” In addition to that message, you may have seen the phrases, “I resolve to challenge racism” and “End White Silence.”
In many cases, the people holding up signs with those phrases have been white.
Recognizing that discussions of race and racism can be different when people of color are not present, WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh is a local group focused on promoting anti-racist action, and knowledge.
Members such as etta cetera and Rose Lynd who identify as white, look at ways to challenge racism in their communities, among family and friends, even within themselves. They discuss the ongoing work of WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh and the many ways they confront racial injustice.
Recently, Police Chief Cameron McLay came under fire for appearing in a photograph with the hashtag "End White Silence," a social media campaign initiated by WHAT'S UP?! Pittsburgh. Critics of McLay's photo say he was inferring that the police were racist. etta and Rose, however, say their message is more about helping white people to become active when considering racial issues.
"It's not necessarily training to be not racist, but to be anti-racist, is a different thing," Rose says.
The group provides its members with the opportunity to unpack their own prejudices. They hold study groups in which they read articles written by people of color and provide a safe space in which they can discuss racism without causing emotional damage to a person of color.
"It's not on people of color to teach white people how to not be racist," says Rose. "That's on us."