A Letter To The White People of La Crosse

By Keonte R. Turner

To our fellow white folks who are protesting and shedding light on the deep rooted problems of injustice in our country, in our world, and in our community, thank you.

But we must make a few things clear to you for ongoing protest. Do not speak for the black community of La Crosse. I see this as stripping the black community of La Crosse of our voices.

Doing something good for a community of people to show face without coming up with real solutions is none other than a beautiful red apple with a rotten core. It looks edible, but rather problematic on the inside.

The protesting is not the problem, entirely.

Nothing wrong with that in the sense that, of course, raising awareness and speaking out against injustice in theory is a good thing. What is problematic is when whites don’t stop before they start and ask theirselves, “WHAT is actually needed?”

We don’t need assumptions. Nor do we need for whites to speak for us. We need you to listen. We in the black community respect our allies if they’re willing to put in the work, check their assumptions, and acknowledge that “cultural competence” and “anti-racism” are not skills that can be mastered. 

Meet us at our table where we make our own decisions and come up with our own solutions within our communities, because nobody knows what is best for our community but us. 

If you have to ask us (The black community) if it okay to “Do” something, it probably means …it is not okay to do.

Again, thank you for fighting and marching alongside us. But don’t be our voice. It is important that you understand to not drown out the voices of the black community in times like this. It can be rather be counterproductive and problematic to true justice and change.

Mr. Keonte R. Turner is the founder of the youth group RISE, a member of B.L.A.C.K., and a member of the School District of La Crosse Board of Education.

Top image shows protesters at Riverside Park in La Crosse during one of the recent protests against police brutality.

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