I’m late on this, but I guess there is no “late” when writing about problems that have existed for centuries. Seeing as I like to fancy myself a writer I thought I should throw my two cents into the pool of opinion on this whole Eric Garner, Michael Brown, police are workers of the devil thing. Better late than never, even if I’m the only one who ever reads this.
I’ll keep it short.
I haven’t joined any protests, violent, silent or otherwise. Part of me gets frustrated sometimes and thinks what can I do? How can I make all this go away, how can we make all this go away? And then I realize that I can’t. We can’t. Not completely anyway, and certainly not overnight.
What I can do is defeat stereotypes by living my life the way I want to live it. I can stop allowing terms like “acting black” or “acting white” to exist and to define me. I can help to vanquish this “us” vs “them” attitude that kindles the fires of racism and prejudice. This fight to end violence and to defeat ignorance is not just the fight of the minority. If people from the majority don’t join us, we’re shouting into the void.
Part of fighting ignorance is when we stop pretending there isn’t a problem. I hear people say, “well it’s just said when anybody dies.” Or “Not all police are bad. They do a lot for our country.” Those people have looked up, mouths agape as the point flies right over there heads, just out of reach. Yes, it is incredibly sad when anyone dies, but to pretend like the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless other black men is not racially motivated at all is wrong. There are bad people out there, within our government, within the police force, within our schools and churches and communities who still harbor racism in their hearts. To pretend this isn’t so is allowing the problem to exist.
So that’s where we start. Us, down here at the bottom who can’t miss work to go to protests. Us who have seemingly little influence over anyone or anything. When we let the smallest ignorant comment or workplace “joke’ to slide past, we’re letting ignorance stay alive. We’re passing it on to our children, we’re allowing it to be commonplace.
If our hearts and our minds are never transformed, no amount of protesting in the streets or government petitions will change our world.