I’ve been seeing memes, posts, and discussions about people not knowing what to support, or be against, because there are so many people advocating for different sides of the same issue. I took a screenshot of one of the graphics to show what I mean:
I read through the comments and discussions on these posts to get a better understanding of the complaint. Some people were using this to justify inaction, others were truly confused about which they should support, and others were specifically using this confusion to try to promote the supporting of hate & inaction.
After seeing all of this, I had to write my thoughts on it, because I feel like it’s too important not to. From my perspective, to know which to support amidst all the hashtags, agendas, taglines, etc., it’s all going to depend on two things- what you value, and the perspective you’re seeing it from. If you look at this from the perspective of what is right based on basic human decency, & you value life, human rights, & equality; it looks very different if you value tradition, loyalty, & money, and are looking at it from the perspective of keeping the country working how it has been because you believe it’s the best way.
So, to decide which to support, or oppose- instead of seeing who all uses which hashtag, or which one gets the most likes, or which ones your friends are all about- you have to first decide what future you’re supporting. Do you think things are fine how they are, or do you think things need to change? If the answer is change, are you wanting change to a better quality of life for everyone equally, or do you feel that some people don’t deserve equal treatment?
Next, you have to decide what you value. People or material possessions & money? Equality or tradition? Human rights or loyalty? If you value your freedom, you should be valuing human rights, because it’s how you got that freedom. If you value the fact that you ARE able to openly have an opinion on these subjects, you really should be valuing human rights. If you value that you have the right to an education in this country- you should be valuing equality. Otherwise, they could choose to not educate those from low-income families, or decide that certain geographic locations weren’t worth educating & just force them to mine, or farm.
Those are all things that don’t happen because the Constitution says that all people are equal and our laws say that every child can go to school. (They had the right idea, but Americans have taken it upon themselves to decide that some people should still be discriminated against, even though this country was supposed to be equal footing for people of all kinds. Somewhere they could go to escape wrongdoing.)
#BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter vs. #BlueLivesMatter
So, for me- I value life, human rights, & equality, and want this world to be a better place for my children- and everyone else’s. It’s not right to just want it better for mine. So, I support #blacklivesmatter Why not #alllivesmatter ? Because I don’t have to worry about being treated differently just because of my skin color. There are a 1000 ways people judge us- but our skin color should not be one of them because we do not determine it. You should only be judged by your words and actions. All lives DO matter, but not all lives are being equally threatened.
I’ve had a bad experience with police, but I still don’t worry about going out and being targeted. Because I’m white. This is why #blacklivesmatter is necessary instead of #alllivesmatter or #bluelivesmatter We have to focus on the thing that is doing the most injustice before we can focus on the other things. When there is no longer the need for #blacklivesmatter you can use the others.
Be silent or speak up?
Being silent has led to where we are now, so it seems to me, it has to be the time for speaking up because things haven’t improved. There is undeniable evidence of racism, and police brutality against people of color who weren’t doing anything wrong. More than ever before, it’s outright, in your face. How can you just let that go? It’s easier to justify when a video or picture is questionable, but how do you justify it now? This will not get better until those who aren’t directly impacted by it, stand up and support those who are. Being silent at this point is being complacent. This is that moment in the history books where choosing whether to be actively anti-racist, or sit by silently, will determine if you are like those who helped with the underground railroad, and helped hiding people from Hitler, or if you just sat by why people were enslaved, tortured, and murdered.
When we read these things in the history books, most of us wonder how they could ever happen. Why didn’t more people fight these atrocities? You are living in a time that should show you perfectly how those things happened. Too many people not standing up for what is right. We don’t want that to happen again, so we have to prevent it by taking action.
Protesting vs. Rioting
This one is different to me. You technically don’t have to be against protesting to also be against rioting- the problem is, too many people can’t see it that way. From my perspective, a riot is something that is not about getting your voice heard. It’s about causing trouble. The recent protests have been plagued by violence mostly created by people trying to silence the voices of the protesters, and get the attention off of why they are there. Their cause is too important to allow a few instigators to make them stop. I don’t love all the violence, either, but I understand how necessary it is to make themselves heard. People HAVE to stop valuing money & material things more than life and justice.
As far as COVID-19 is concerned, that’s something every single person should be paying attention to, because even if it doesn’t make you seriously sick, or kill you, odds are that it will eventually seriously impact someone you know, in one way, or another. Even if it doesn’t, you will still be impacted because enough other people WILL be. Once you get to so many deaths caused by one specific virus in less than a year, it’s almost impossible to avoid every citizen being affected.
Not only will we be impacted mentally & emotionally by the people that are lost, we’ll also feel those losses in workplaces, positions of authority, medical personnel, first responders- the people we’re losing come from all of these places. They are our friends, colleagues, family, & acquaintances. The number is already over 100,000 and could end up at a quarter of a million, or more, in a year. That’s 100k-250k less people making purchases, running businesses, running community organizations, volunteering. The loss of life will impact us everywhere.
Wait- if COVID19 is bad, what about protesting?
I can’t sit here and say “Sure, it’s safe for anyone to go protest,” because it isn’t. If this were a world where people weren’t get murdered by law enforcement because of their skin color- I would be saying for all of you to stay home. We don’t live in that world, yet, though, and most healthy people should be able to protest if they don’t have someone immunocompromised, or elderly, that they’ll have to be around for 14 days. There will be some risk involved, because there is still a virus that hasn’t been controlled, but it IS possible to maintain social distancing in most of the peaceful protests, and always wear a mask. I don’t condone going out for anything that is not essential, but fighting racial injustice is definitely essential. Just please be careful, because people of color seem to be even more susceptible to the virus.
If you ARE, elderly, or immunocompromised, and don’t want to risk being exposed, there are plenty of ways to get involved online, by educating and spreading awareness. You can find many websites and organizations that support #blacklivesmatter and I am in the middle of creating a resource page here on Written by Dida. I will link that page here when finished.
Positivity & Realism
Positivity can be great, but, as you’ve heard, there is such a thing as too much positivity. This is where you get the term “toxic positivity.” I consider myself a realist, but not in the way other people generally think of the word. People often put a negative spin on realism, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The fact is, there is good and bad in life. Only acknowledging the good things, and never wanting to look at the reality of the situation, can lead to all kinds of emotions that you suppress so you don’t have to deal with them. This can lead to a number of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
Bad experiences are a part of life. You can still have a positive attitude while acknowledging that bad can happen. My “motto” is hope for the best, prepare for the worst. This way you aren’t blindsided if things don’t go perfectly, and have a backup plan in place to minimize any negative impact, or are ready to adapt to whatever happens.
Figured Out Where You Stand, Yet?
I know I made it clear where I stand, but everyone has to make their own choice, and yes- not choosing is still choosing to be complacent. This has been acceptable in the past, but we’re at a time now when it’s no longer okay to be passive about this issue. We are on the cusp of real change (as cliche as that sentence is,) and things will hopefully be different from this point on. If not, we’re in way worse trouble than I thought. Eradicate racism everywhere you can by raising the awareness of your white friends.
Don’t ignore COVID-19 because it’s a serious virus that is killing people everyday. Our government no longer seems interested in helping us through this struggle, so we’re going to have to demand they do, or our economy will take MUCH longer to recover. The fact we have elected officials who are actively blocking bills that are meant to help the American people get through this, is disgusting. We have to get people like that out of office. I’m not for giving everything to everyone all the time, but this has been financially devastating to almost everyone. For them to act like it’s not at all their responsibility to help us through this is ridiculous. They aren’t elected to decide what is best for the people- they are elected to make sure what the people want gets accomplished. We seem to have forgotten that. It’s time we made them work for us like they are meant to.