Right now a majority of people around the world are tired of being stuck in homes, worried about a deadly global pandemic, stressed about jobs and the future, and also? Still being killed by law enforcement.
People of color are being killed. By law enforcement. The three recent horrific incidents involving Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd were the last straw for many people around the world, and they should be the same for every single one of you. Watch as Trevor Noah explains why people are protesting, rioting, and getting upset over Target lootings.
Institutionalized and systemic racism is a deep, pervasive disease in our culture. To uproot it will take radical upheaval and change on every level. We are living in an historical moment right now, one which we hope is a monumental turning point.
But what about the riots?
That’s the hopeful part, by the way: that all of this turmoil and pain can be the impetus for some legitimate growth and rebirth. After all, There’s no “right” way to protest! As MLK says:
…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.
What can we do?
How can we be a part of the solution in a meaningful, proactive way? Here is a list of things we can do and links we should all check out - especially us white folx:
- What white people should be doing, poetically
- What white people should be doing, practically
- 10 more things for white ppl to do
- Some more great things for white ppl to do, compiled in a handy-dandy resource guide
- You can also contribute to a bail fund in your area
- Never stop checking your privilege
- Read and educate yourself (don’t get duped)
- Read books to and educate your children, if you got ‘em
- What white parents should be doing, hopefully
Do the work
Eradicating internal, personal racism is a process, and we are all at various stages of it, regardless of our skin color and background. “Everybody’s a little bit racist, sometimes...” is a funny song because it’s very, very true. If you acknowledge that you aren’t perfect and strive to continue the process of eliminating your prejudices and biases, that’s great. Like Jimmy: You're doing great, Jimmy!
You know what’s not great? Racism that murders people. Racism that keeps us quiet while our fellow folx are killed. Racism that causes us do nothing in the face of injustice. Racism that encourages us to turn away, and uphold the status quo.
We need to always do more and do better. Read a lot, listen a lot, and reflect a lot. Afterwards, we can move into action with a strong, ethical foundation. Act, speak, assist, donate, march, protest, riot, get involved, hold hope, push this country forward.
- Be aware of the vicious police brutality happening at protests across the country.
- Read this horror-inducing incident involving professor Steve Locke back in 2015, deciding he would rather die than be falsely accused - and the difficult aftermath of that documented life event going viral (by other people).
- Watch this video of a woman stepping in last year when police were escalating a situation dramatically, instead of de-escalating it.
- Read this sobering call to action from a fellow white woman, encouraging us to put our bodies between the police and black people.
- Follow other white folx who are doing the work and challenging themselves and others to become better allies, better advocates.