we cannot stay silent.

June 04, 2020

I first want to preface what is going to be a very heavy post with the fact that I don’t have a plan for anything I’m about to say.  You guys know I am probably one of the most organized people on the planet and I usually have a detailed outline for every blog and video I post.  However, today is going to be a little different.  Today I want to speak from my heart.  I’ve taken the last week to watch what has been going on in the world and collect my thoughts before posting this.  In case you didn’t know, I’m not one to publicly share my opinions on politics and other controversial topics.  There was a season, many years ago, when I was more open and routinely joined in on Facebook debates.  After a while, I decided confrontation was not really my thing and I fell silent.  Despite the fact that I have multiple blog posts about topics such as gun control and LGBTQ rights, as well as a 20+ page research paper on abortion, I haven’t shared any of that.  Many people around me have said it is best not to share your thoughts on topics like those where people might judge you and your reputation might get hurt.

Someone once said, “Nothing will ever change unless you talk about it.”  And right now, we desperately need change in this country.

I am not here to talk about George Floyd.

I am not here to talk about the police officer who killed him.

I am here to speak for every single black life that has been lost at the hands of the police.  I am here to bring to light the serious issue we face in America, every. single. day.  I have a question.  If slavery was abolished in 1865, why is there still a divide between black people and white people?  One-hundred and fifty-five years later, I am still more privileged than a 19 year old black woman.  Why is that?  You know, one of the things I hate the most about filling out any kind of paperwork or survey is when they ask what your race is.  Why does it matter what the color of my skin is?

That was a lot of questions, and I’m sure none of you who are reading this have the answers.  But if you do, please enlighten me.  One of the reasons I chose to discuss this today is for the black people who have impacted my life and inspired me.  I’m sitting here writing this thinking about the people I know who have influenced me in the best ways possible, started and run successful businesses, and who are academically smarter than I will ever be.  They are some of the most amazing people I have ever met and they are black.  They have accomplished so much, and yet they are still treated differently.

I think one of the biggest issues in this case is the stereotype of black people that has changed many people’s perception of them.  They are often seen as criminals.  Think of a time when you have been in a store and see a black person nearby and subconsciously squeeze your purse or belongings a little tighter.  Why do we do this?  It may be because the media publishes so many criminal news stories about black people.  The media loves to twist our views and perceptions.  Furthermore, we have seen many black celebrities at the center of media attention.  Chris Brown faced charges of battery as well as robbery in 2009 and 2012.  Rapper Meek Mill was convicted of drug dealing in 2008.  We know this because those stories are the ones that make the headlines.  For some reason, seeing “black man” in the title makes it more of a significant story. 

But let’s talk about the fact that just as many white people have criminal records.  We just don’t hear about it as often; because again, having “black man” (or woman) in the title is much more significant for some reason.  My point here is that just as we are equal in our strengths, we are also equal in our weaknesses.  There is no denying that.

While doing some research to educate myself more on this topic, I read Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech.  I know, it might seem dumb to reference such a widely known speech, but I highly encourage you to read or listen to the entire thing.  When I was reading it just now, this one part stuck out:

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

We cannot be satisfied, he said, until police brutality is stopped.  That was fifty-seven years ago, and we are still seeing police brutality just as much, if not more, than back in the 1960s.  Walter Scott, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner, the list of victims goes on.  The question is this: how many more lives are we going to have to lose before there is change?  When are we going to be satisfied, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it?

We have to remember the reason the police exist.  They are here to protect Americans against criminals and keep people safe.  And as long as they are murdering innocent American citizens merely because of the color of their skin, they are not serving their purpose or their country.  The officers that commit these acts of hate are abusing their power and taking lives that did not deserve to be taken.  I would also like to add, however, that is definitely not the case with all police officers.  In this case, the officer who killed George Floyd had a dozen complaints against him, which means he should have been fired a long time ago.  But we cannot place this stereotype on all police officers, just as we cannot say that all black people are criminals.  It goes both ways.  I feel as though it is important to mention that, even though we are talking about police brutality, there are so many officers out there who are serving our country in the right ways.

I’ve seen many people on social media claim that the protests taking place are not going to do anything.  I mentioned at the beginning of this post that nothing is ever going to change unless we talk about it.  And that’s where the protests come in.  We show the government leaders that this is something American people will not tolerate.  We show them that we cannot normalize this kind of hate in our country.  We show them that we will not tolerate the murder of our brothers and sisters.  Many are saying that the protests are not doing anything, but they are.  As of today, after a week of protests, all four officers who played a part in George Floyd’s murder have been charged.  They are hearing us.  So please, keep speaking up.

However, protesting and rioting are two vastly different things.  Protesting is speaking up in a civil way to get the message across.  Rioting is the opposite.  It is retaliation and destroying property that is not yours.  I do not in any way believe rioting is going to spark change, but protests will.  I definitely do not think rioting is the right action to take and do not encourage such acts.

I have been thinking a lot about all of this and just soaking it in over the past few days, and one thought I cannot get out of my head is how much I don’t want to raise my children in a world like this.  I don’t want to have to explain to them that it is not right for the people to treat others differently because of the color of their skin.  I believe my generation is the generation of change and we have the power to make a difference.  I believe we can bring a light to this world that is full of hate and make it a place where we accept every single person no matter what their race, religion, or sexual orientation is.  Because every life matters.

But there will only be change if we keep talking.  We cannot stay silent.









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