Wanda Sykes is calling on white people to “step up” to combat racism as Americans take to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd.
In a video the comedian shared on Instagram — which she captioned “#blacklivesmatter I’ve been drinking…but that’s when the truth comes” — she expresses her anger, frustration and exhaustion over the fact that, a half-century after the civil rights marches of the 1960s, systemic racism in America still persists.
“I’m tired. …It’s been a lot,” Sykes said. “Here’s the thing, I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I appreciate them, but I’m tired of getting texts from my white friends saying, ‘Thinking of you, I hear you, I love you.’ That’s great and I appreciate it… I’m not discounting them at all but… it’s kinda empty.”
She continued: “You don’t get to just drop that off and then go on about your life and feel good about yourself. Here’s what it is. There was slavery, the Civil War, the north won the Civil War, and this is your part too. We know all about the racists and the white supremacists who are on the south side, but where’s all the heroes, where’s all the people who were on the north side? Who’s all the people who won, where y’all?”
Sykes admitted that she’s fed up with marches and protests. “To me… we’ve done it, we’ve marched, I’m gonna tell you right now, I ain’t marching. I’m not marching I’m not doing it… You can’t ask us to fix something where we’re the victims… It’s not our problem… I’m the victim, you are the problem,” she said.
“I can’t see my… proud, black, beautiful, young people out there, putting their lives on the line and getting tased and getting pepper sprayed,” she said, addressing white Americans. “No, you gotta fix your problem, you’re the abuser.”
Describing what’s happening in America right now as “Civil War part two,” she added, “Y’all gotta… step up,” adding: “White people, you have to fix your problem… After the Civil War you didn’t clean up house.”
She concluded by stating, “The only way racism will stop is when white people tell white people to stop being racist. I need y’all out on the front lines.”