The role of white people in the black freedom movement between the 1950’s and 1970’s and even now is one that I honestly ponder on. As a white person, I wonder what is the role for me. To what extent should I lend my voice and hand to the movement? I certainly do not by any means desire to degrade people of color, rather I desire to foster an environment that allows for them to be seen and treated as fully equal with any other human being. At the same time, I understand that the black freedom movement is a black one. The rhetoric and actions in the black freedom movement can certainly influence, aspire, and strengthen other movements, but in the end, one must not forget its uniqueness and goals.
In Alice Walker’s Meridian, the character, Lynne Rabinowitz, interested me the most because I gained some insight to the role of whites in the 1960’s black freedom movement (although I by no means view Lynne as acting the sole representative as to how whites acted in the movement). One passage from the book stuck with me [Trueman’s thought after Tommy shuts him up for mentioning Lynne’s name]: