I apologize if this is not my best written blog, I feel it is more important to get the message out there than to worry about how it reads. I can’t believe I feel the need to write this, but obviously people feel that they can debate or denounce this, so I hope to educate someone with this post.
I’m not pretending to be an expert on this topic. I’ll admit that I’ve never thought less of a person because of the colour of their skin, but that doesn’t mean I have done everything in my power to learn about, speak about and positively contribute to the issues. Or that I have always been aware of my privilege and used it to support the movement.
Black Lives Matter. Period. Why are people offended by this? Black Lives Matter doesn’t take away validity from any other race, it simply brings attention to the way that Black people are treated. From being unjustly tried in the courts, attacked on the streets, and killed by police. It is a movement to educate those on the issues that have affected the Black community for decades. It is not an attack on your culture or a movement to minimize the pain you’ve felt in your life.
Imagine growing up knowing that you could be killed by police for simply living in your home, walking down the street, buying something at a store, or driving your car. These are activities that other races feel safe doing. But Black people have to exercise caution when doing this – they have to be on alert and take measures to minimize encounters with the police. They have to adjust the way they live because they could be killed for no reason at all.
Black Lives Matter is not to be overshadowed by rioting and destruction of property or to be used as a popularity contest or a political move. Black Lives Matter is not denouncing your identity. Black Lives Matter is bringing forth the injustices that surround the Black community and to make apparent the privilege exists in society that is not extended to them. Privilege we take for granted everyday.
The Black Lives Matter movement has really educated me on the privilege I have and how I benefit from it every day, and it has helped me to understand systemic racism. Racism that is deep rooted in our societal constructs like the police force, judicial system and mainstream media. It has helped me to understand that I benefit from marketing and televisions shows that are developed with my skin tone in mind. That my encounters with police will be executed in proper fashion and that they are there to keep me safe. I will always have access to quality schooling, the best rate on mortgages and live in the safest communities. Not because I have worked for any of this, but because of my skin colour. White privilege and systematic racism extend far past what I have given examples for and they are complex issues that we have to educate ourselves about from credible resources. There is no debating this, Black people have been made to feel like the lesser race, deemed “unsafe” and treated in unjust and inhumane ways.
Think about how angry you get when you are trying to speak to someone about an issue and they don’t listen to you. You likely raise your voice, you might throw something or punch a wall. Now imagine trying to educate the world on an issue that has affected your culture for decades, I bet you’d be pretty angry too. Imagine voicing the issue in the politically correct way – bringing it up to members of parliament, mayors, governors. Imagine sharing it through social media every time something unjust happened to a Black person. Imagine having a top athlete peacefully kneel during the national anthem in to bring awareness to the issue, and then continuing to see your race killed often – without mercy and with zero justice.
The saddest part of all of this is that the looting and riots are overshadowing the extent the Black community has gone to speak peacefully and properly – and how the peaceful protesters are being treated by police. What people fail to understand is that looting and rioting and protesting are not the same thing. The protesters that are fighting for real change are not the ones vandalizing small businesses and stealing from Target. Looting and rioting happens often with every major protest and quite often with major sporting events, but I cannot recall a time where I have seen looting and rioting get as much coverage on the news as I have during the recent protests. If all you are doing to educate yourself on the current events is watching your local evening news, no wonder you’re confusing rioters and protestors. As I mentioned before, mainstream media has bias and it is curated to suit white individuals – so you will not find the information you need through that avenue.
I read on Facebook a story about a tall, athletic Black man who lives in predominately white neighbourhood in the United States. He has a young daughter and a small white fluffy dog. In his story, he says that in order to feel safe in HIS OWN neighbourhood when out for a walk he brings his daughter and dog along with him. When he walks with them, he looks like a loving father who is taking his dog and daughter out for fresh air. But, if he were to walk alone, he would be a tall, athletic Black man in a neighbourhood where he didn’t “belong”, to many he would be seen as suspicious and a threat. If someone with racial prejudice was to call the police on him – he could lose his life. So he doesn’t walk without his daughter and his dog. If that doesn’t impact you to your core – you have racial prejudice and you are part of the problem. Put yourself in the position of anyone of these Black individuals who are sharing their stories. Or in the shoes of a family member that will never see their relative again because they were killed because of the colour of their skin.
We borrow so much from black music, black culture, black traditions, the absolute LEAST we can do is bring attention to this movement until real change is enacted. This is not a trend, this is not a political move, this is a movement to protect valued members of society and to make sure that a Black person will never die at the hands of a racist cop again.
I have linked my twitter below where I will continue to post credible information about this movement, petitions to sign and places to donate. To all the beautiful Black people out there – I will never understand your hardships, but I am committed to doing what I can to stand with you.