First and most important, here are some ways to help:
“If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do.” – Jesse Williams, 2016 BET Awards
I’ve been sitting with my thoughts over the past week, but to stay silent about the racial injustices that have been going on just doesn’t sit right with me. Writers have a lot of thoughts, and I’m sure my fellow writers can attest to how shitty it feels when we keep it all bottled up. But now is not the time to remain silent. To deal with a global pandemic and racism simultaneously is overwhelming–not to mention fucking heartbreaking. Acts of hatred and racial slurs being yelled out as if they carry no weight behind them? Innocent black men, women, and children dying at the hands of white “authorities”? These are topics we learned/read about in our history books, and to still see it alive and well is mind-boggling. How can we as a society talk about “Making America great again” or preaching, “All lives matter” when black lives are still being mistreated in broad daylight?
Retweeting, liking, sharing posts via social media, or even writing this blog post may be something, but somehow, it will never feel like it’s enough. Those of us who are not black shouldn’t act like we know how it feels, nor should we be telling the black community how to react. But what we can do is show compassion–feel outraged that another innocent black life was taken by four officers who are supposed to keep us safe. Peaceful protests have been done, but somehow, the cries for help are still unheard. You’re tired of riots or protests? Historically, imagine hundreds of years of oppression. Until we learn to recognize, understand, and acknowledge privilege, we will continue to be at a standstill. We all have benefitted from black culture in one way or another: from sports, music, art, novels, and so much more, I know of the amazing impact black culture has played in my life…and to see this community still being discredited is extremely upsetting.
This has gone on long enough. To completely ignore it or stand idly by because you think it “doesn’t affect you” or it is “too difficult to talk about” can no longer be a ‘standard.’ Listen. Learn. Grow. Repeat. The one glimmer of hope I can hold on to is seeing the helpers during this time of need. I can’t say the same for those who grew up with different beliefs, but best believe if you are on some racist shit, family or not, I won’t hesitate to call you out on it. Personally, I want to hold myself accountable and find ways to become a better ally to the black community, not just today or this week, but every day. I hear you. I stand with you.