Societal Issues

Silence isn’t the Answer: Speaking up Against Racism

This week has been frightening and completely uncomfortable in many ways. People are dying because of racism, oppression, etc. People are now dying because of riots and violence created as a result of that. People are dying separate from the pandemic of COVID because of our ignorance and hate. This level of Jumanji of 2020 is a result of our choices and how we treat people.

As a young adult, I struggle to find the words that can make an impact, to support people of color and all of those affected by the circumstances happening in our country. I even spoke in one of my support groups that I didn’t know how to address the problem, but I don’t believe that racism, oppression, violence, etc. is right. After the group meeting, I decided that even though we don’t know how to address it, we shouldn’t be silent about it.

Here is things to know and ways you can help:

POC face violence and fear of dying on a daily basis.

Last night my mom called me to make sure that I was safe after a long day of rallies across the state. I was privileged enough to say that I was safe. I live in a rural area where rallies and protests are about twenty minutes out either way. I am also privileged enough to say that most nights I do not have to worry about coming home alive. POC do not have this same privilege. Not worrying about dying while coming from work shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be a right.

Educate yourself.

I can imagine each and everyone of us has been watching some form of social media as the last couple months have unrolled. Social media is quite a powerful tool, but remember that not all sources are credible.  It is so important that every single one of us read and check our sources. Learn ways how to support these communities. Speak up. Donate to movements and programs that support POC. Try to change your own biases and misconceptions.

“We don’t stare at people” – a mom to her child

I never understood the impact of this until I was in college and one of my good friends was a person of color. So one night we got to Walmart to pick up some ice cream, and we walk in. Suddenly I realize everyone is staring at us. I whisper to her and ask her if she knows why people are staring at me, but they weren’t looking at me. They were looking at her. She told me that when she goes anywhere, people stare at her. She could literally be out getting groceries and everyone is looking for her. As a white person, I had never experienced the awful feeling of being constantly watched where ever I go and let me tell you it was awful. I am asking you if nothing else, please stop staring at POC. We are all living our lives. Let’s live our lives without staring at other people.

Uncomfortable conversations are necessary right now. 

Although we may not know what to say, we have to have uncomfortable conversations at times with our friends, families, acquaintances, etc. Racial comments are not acceptable. Racial comments are not acceptable no matter who you are talking to.The topics of racism and oppression shouldn’t be a compromise either. One of the biggest ways that each of us can make an impact is to be brave and speak up when this happens. Say something and educate them. No yelling necessary, but do not be the person who sits silently in a conversation that questions the existence and worth of other human beings.

 Change will happen.

Life is all about change. We have been standing still here in injustice, racism and oppression for too long. Our society needs to change and we are gonna make it happen one step at a time. It will be uncomfortable. It will be painful, but it will happen. We will make it happen. Together.

Destinie June