In this post, I will not comment on any specific actions taken in the last week by either protestors or police.
We all have our own feelings and thoughts about actions taken in the past week. Whatever you are feeling, I hear you. I understand you may be frustrated or hurt. I empathize with you and encourage you to explore this.
I am someone who can “see all sides.” I can empathize with anyone. However, there are no sides anymore. Black folks are dying, and that is the most important truth in this moment. We need to ask what we can do to stop all of this senseless death. That is the goal.
As a non-Black person, I will not be sharing my feelings publicly. I will process them in private with my therapist, partner, and friends. Although our feelings are valid and real, and we should process them, it is important not to overshadow the bigger issue.
There is an issue bigger than one protestor, one police officer, one broken window, one can of tear gas thrown.
Every time they leave their homes, Black people fear for their lives. There have been countless examples of unjust killings of Black folks. This cannot be disputed. One of my best friends was afraid to go in public this weekend.
This is important: having a Black friend or a Black partner should not and cannot be a prerequisite to standing up for Black folks.
Black folks are not responsible for educating you. They are not responsible for appealing to your morality. They are not responsible for editing their actions and reactions to make you more comfortable. Black folks are dying.
Imagine the person you feel most protective of in the world: is it your mother? Your sibling? Your partner? Now imagine that this person was unsafe every time they left their house. Imagine that someone could hurt them at any moment, making an assessment solely based on skin color. Imagine they were murdered unjustly. How would you feel? This is how Black folks feel daily.
Here’s how we can support Black folks right now. If you are going on social media to tell Black folks how they should feel or act: don’t.
If you are centering the destruction of property as the main issue: don’t.
This is a systemic issue, beyond one person and their actions, and at this moment, saying otherwise invalidates the experience of Black folks.
Your thoughts and feelings are valid. Your frustration is valid. Your fear is valid. But Black folks are dying, and enough is enough.
The only thing we should be saying right now is that the lives of Black people matter to us. Other things matter to us too, but right now, this moment is a moment to stand up for Black lives.
I am not looking to limit your freedom of speech. But our speech can become an additional weapon, an additional layer of hurt toward Black folks.
I am not looking for you to attend a protest. I am appealing to you to stay quiet for a moment and sit with the truth of all this.
I am encouraging you to center and uplift the voices of Black folks, or consider not posting at all.
How we respond in this moment matters. We need to humbles ourselves, be quiet, and let Black folks take the lead.