For some of us, we are taking this opportunity to continue learning and understanding about what is happening in this country and why it is happening. But for others, it is merely an inconvenience to their daily lives.
I want to be perfectly clear with some things before this post goes any further, and I ask that you read it in its entirety before voicing your opinions on anything written here:
I support the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and I do not want to hear anything about “All Lives Matter” from anyone. Of course all lives matter. But I’m not about to go handing out bandages to everyone when black people are the ones bleeding.
I support the protests taking place across this country, but I do not support violence or looting. However, I understand why there is frustration and anger. I may not agree with how some people are expressing it, but I understand why it exists.
I do not support “Blue Lives Matter” for one reason: Cops are not born with blue blood. They chose the line of work they entered in knowing it was dangerous, and they can take off their uniform when they are off the clock. Black people live with their skin color every second of every day. There should be no reason for them to be in danger because of that.
I am not anti-police, and I do not agree with the “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards) rally cry. All cops are not bastards, and most people know this. Almost every cop I know in real life is a stand-up person. I appreciate their service to a dangerous job, and I understand that there will always be a few bad apples. That being said…
I do not accept the “few bad apples” excuse when it comes to police. Some professions cannot have bad apples. Doctors get their medical licenses taken away, lawyers can be disbarred, and journalists can be fired for misquoting someone — and none of those professions require the use of a firearm or tactical training. Police receive the training and equipment required to do their job, but they should also be held accountable when they go too far.
“Black Lives Matter” protests have now been held in every single state throughout this country, and that is nothing short of an incredible feat. Yet there are still people (mainly white people) who do not — or refuse to — understand why they are taking place.
They do not understand because they almost certainly have not experienced seeing a member of their own race shot to death by police while unarmed. They have not experienced seeing a member of their own race being choked to death by police in public. They have not experienced having conversations with their kids about how to conduct themselves in every possible situation throughout their day so that they are not perceived as a threat solely because of the color of their skin.
And so that is why you see people of color voicing their concerns and trying to inform you in community chats and on your social media feeds when it is not their job or responsibility to do so. Instead of taking the time to listen and understand, many deflect with a false equivalence or report the post because they don’t want to see it or because it is an inconvenience to them.
Sorry for the inconvenience, but you are part of the problem.
As a white man, I will never fully understand what people of color go through on a daily basis. I am privileged in that regard, and I am not ignorant to that reality. I want to do my best to become even more informed about racial matters and social injustices, but I also will not be silent.
White people can amplify black voices while also using their own voices, platforms and privilege to educate the people who look like them and are more likely to listen to them. We must be vocal and visible in our support for people of color now more than ever.
If that creates awkward situations at family gatherings, fine. It is a privilege to even have the option to ignore what is not happening to us. If that causes me to lose friends virtually or in real life, fine. I do not want to be associated with anyone who can watch that video of George Floyd dying on the street and think these protests are not justified.
Our children will learn about these protests when they grow up, and I want to be prepared if and when my children ask me, “What did you do?”
I want to be able to say that I was on the right side of history. I want to be able to say that I did not sit idly by while all of this unfolded. I want to be able to say I spoke up and spoke out because I knew something was broken and needed to be fixed — even if it did not apply to me.
If you read all of this and still do not understand, or if you stopped reading the moment you saw something you did not like, or if you rolled your eyes after seeing it on your feed, well then I’m sorry for the inconvenience.
This is a powerful and incredibly informative video that I invite everyone to watch: