Here’s the deal. Some of my white friends have in no way, 0%, showed any support at all for the #blacklivesmatter movement. Not even an acknowledgement said in passing to me. It’s like it doesn’t exist to them. Which is impossible.
My friend Stacia and I talk about the pressure to be the perfect social justice activist. A perfect activist knows where all quotes come from, can recite the history of every single social justice movement, knows about (and immediately tweets about) every single unjust event that occurs, participates in every single social justice rally and protest…and hardcore shames others who don’t. It’s pretty unrealistic and, frankly, freaking frustrating as hell.
But come on, #blacklivesmatter? Darren Wilson of the Ferguson P.D. murdering Michael Brown? I’m completely willing to acknowledge that there is an exception to every rule – but seriously, no one can claim ignorance to this.
And I’m not asking my friends to be activists. Some certainly are. Some definitely are not. All of my friends are kind, considerate, loving human beings. Yet only some have demonstrated that love for murdered black children, terrorized black communities, and people in pain. I cannot for the life of me understand the silence.
Or maybe I can. Upon the first sign of action from Ferguson’s residents, white people warned me not to take a stand. It would be safer for my image and career to stay silent. They’re going to freak out when they see this post. It was and is so obviously all about marketing myself. Which is disgusting given the context, given what marketing oneself via silence really means to entire communities of human beings who deserve to live healthy, thriving lives. Who deserve to live.
I’m afraid to lose my friends. I can already see each one of them trying to figure out if I’m passive-aggressively talking about them. Some will be angry. Some will know there is no way in hell I could possibly be implicating them. And I’ll keep on being afraid to lose them. But what’s my fear of losing friends to the daily fear of losing one’s life, one’s child’s life, one’s partner’s life, one’s friend’s life…simply because you exist?
I love my friends dearly. And all I’m asking is that my white friends turn off the mute button and say that #blacklivesmatter. Because they absolutely do and you know it.