So with everything in the media from Pulse, to #Blacklivesmatter, to the elections, to PokemonGo, I’ve been very selective to post my points of view on a lot of topics. I feel like no matter what is said someone is going to have a reason to attack your words.
If I comment my understanding of the #blm movement, I might get told my skin color means I have no clue what I’m talking about. If I comment on gun control I might get told I have no clue about the meaning of the second amendment. If I talk about the election, whoever I side with will be met with criticism from an opposing viewpoint. And don’t even get me started on PokemonGo, if I talk about it positively I get knocked down, negatively gets you knocked down too.
But I have this amazing friend, Drew who posted on Facebook yesterday. It was a heart-felt call to everyone out there on all of the issues we as people have to understand:
I really just need to get some things put down that have been on my mind recently, this is going to be a long and rant-y (and most likely disjointed) post, so brace yourselves.
I’ve been quieter than usual, well, let me rephrase, it has taken more energy to interact with people and it has been a lot tougher to let things slide. I think it’s time I stop and start calling people out.
What happened at Pulse a month ago changed me in more ways than one. It sparked something in me that hasn’t gone away. It reignited the old fear I had in being a gay man. It made me second guess having a Human Rights Campaign bumper sticker, it made me consider getting my equal sign tattoo covered, it made me want to hide again. And as a white male, I could hide. I could completely privatize my orientation. Would it be difficult? Would it reawaken the depression I battled for close to a decade? Most likely yes, on both accounts.
But I could.
That is my privilege as a white male. I am able to blend in and be deemed “good” and “proper” and “right”, simply because of the color of my skin.
I hate that it wasn’t until only a month ago and under such horrible circumstances I finally woke up and started being conscious about what was going on around me and what’s happening to my friends.
Shortly after the massacre at Pulse, #BlackLivesMatter activists interrupted the Toronto Pride parade and my immediate gut reaction was indignation. “What good is that going to do? Why are they doing this to another social minority?” But as I read more and examined it from other people’s viewpoints it made me realize something. It’s a parade. It is not the final Pride parade and it’s not like we can ever have one again.
But you know what we can’t bring back?
The lives of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, or Delrawn Small. JUST TO NAME A FEW.
I have seen countless posts about “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”, how protesters who block streets or highways should be arrested or we should install guards on the front of our cars (presumably to force your way through or run over protesters), how #BLM activists are “fucking douchebags” for putting some paint on a rock. Let me break each of these down for you:
“#BlueLivesMatter” or “#AllLivesMatter” –
This is racist, escapist bullshit. Being a police officer is a job/career, you CHOOSE to do so. At the end of the day, you can take your uniform off and go home. You cannot do that with skin color. You cannot escape from your own skin.
And if I see one more white person spout All Lives Matter, I’m going to blow a fuse. There is no invisible “Only” before Black Lives Matter, nor is there a “More” at the end. Dig deep, come to the understanding and realization that when you say that and when you believe that, it is a racist mentality. “I’m not racist, I have black friends!” Well, continue with that mentality and continue refusing to stand up and fight for those black friends of yours and they will be the next hashtag to go viral.
Protesters blocking highways –
GOD FORBID YOU HAVE TO ADD 15 MINUTES TO YOUR COMMUTE TO GET TO WORK. These people are protesting for their right to EXIST. Do you understand that? They are part of the “All Lives Matter” you’re talking about and they are SCREAMING for you to notice, to listen, and to understand but you refuse to. You are too focused on your life being inconvenienced for a matter of minutes or hours when, literally, there are lives on the line.
“Vandalizing” a (racist) rock –
Speaking of people who need to get their priorities straight. #BLM activists spray painted a Confederate monument. A monument to the good old days of slavery and blatant, open racism. And that is what white people are more concerned and angry about. Some fucking paint on a fucking chiseled rock. It makes me sick that I even need to remind you that a rock or a statue or ANY MAN-MADE MONUMENT IN EXISTENCE CAN BE REMADE (even though, arguably, some really shouldn’t be). People have been and continue to be murdered because of the ideology and history behind what that monument stood for. And those people cannot be remade or brought back.
Let me ask you something. Have you been playing Pokemon Go? Have you been sitting in your room at night, checked the app only to see a new Pokemon you haven’t caught nearby so you immediately threw on your shoes and ran outside to track it down?
Have you been scared that it could be the last walk you take?
Because that is where we are at in the world right now. There is a game out right now that brings an indescribable amount of joy and nostalgia to our generation and there are people who cannot play it, in America, because they could literally end up dead. They are forced to find safe places just to play the game as it was intended to be played because they don’t have the privilege of having white skin which therefore makes them innately suspicious.
I want you to try something. I want you to close your eyes and pretend you are sitting down with your 10 year old self. Would that 10 year old self be proud of what you’re saying and doing? Or would that 10 year old self look at you and want to know when you forgot to love others and treat others how you would like to be treated?
Dig deep and really look at yourself and your beliefs. Let them flow and change as the world changes around us. Take a stand and make a difference; it can and will save lives.
Now I want you take a moment and do what Drew has stated and look at your ten year old self, does this ten year old look up to you, or does this child hold his head down in shame for the things you have said or done.
I know not what my ten year old self would say about me, but I cringe at some of the things I have seen and read. And to reiterate, just because I haven’t spoken out on the issues, does not mean I am.for or against them. It just means I am scared to speak out, for fear of what may come back to haunt me.