(Writer’s note: This is a post from 2020 that I posted on my Facebook page last summer. It still applies today, unfortunately. Re-posting because racial equality is still important, even if it’s not the hot topic at the moment.)
If you haven't understood what it means when you hear the phrase - Black Lives Matter - the answer is not to find your favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote to try to shame black people into some sort of submission.
If you are still saying All Lives Matter, it's not your best move to find a video of a black person reiterating your stance. If you haven't or are unwilling to listen to opposing views on the issue, you probably aren't qualified to be making a public stance.
If you get irritated when you hear Black Lives Matter because you believe all lives matter, but then seek out a Blue Lives Matter meme, that action is canceling out your supposed belief.
If you are pro-life and mad about police being killed on duty by people rioting but aren't mad about black people being killed by police, are you really pro-life? Are you placing value higher on one person's life over another? If you are, why? Like, really... ask yourself why.
If your argument against the Black Lives Matter movement is that white people are killed by police too... what's your actual point? That's literally the whole focus of this. Of course all lives matter, even white lives who have been victimized by "a few bad apples". Police brutality against anyone is unacceptable.
Here's the thing. It's understandable why racism is such a hot-button issue these days. Black people have been saying it loudly for centuries -injustices to people of color (POC) are happening here in this country. Right now. It's just that in the past, it was easier to ignore us. Now, white people have started listening... and responding. Now the mantle isn't being carried solely by people of color. It makes some folks awfully uncomfortable.
So now, non-POC, it's time for you to make a choice. Are you in or are you out? More bluntly, are you with us are you against us? Because if you are, it's time for you to be an advocate for change. It's time for you to walk with us, figuratively and literally.
Before I go further, let me emphasize something.
You can advocate any way you choose. You don't need a megaphone. You don't need a large audience. You don't need a different stage. Don't let people shame you for your choice of action. If you haven't posted on social media, that's fine. If you haven't attended a protest rally, that's okay too. All you need is your voice and a willingness to use it. The rest will come.
In our media-frenzied culture, we can usually wait a day or two and whatever storm we are facing will blow over. Normally we can just bunker down for a bit and we can survive with little resistance. It's not the case right now. This time, people are actually mad. The storm is hovering over the United States and it's not letting up.
So the decision becomes not about weathering the storm but about what type of response are you going to give.
If you have grown tired of your Facebook feed being filled with racial-tension related articles, ask yourself why. Of course, it would be nice to go back to a timeline filled with baby pictures and puppies. People of color would love to fast forward to a time where we aren't facing prejudice simply for the color of our skin.
If you are searching for MLK quotes, stop. Instead, listen to his words. Spotify is a good utility for that. His speeches back in the 1960s are applicable today. You can find them on YouTube. Listen for his passion in his voice, feel it, and then apply to your own life.
Also, no, he wasn't beloved back then. No, he wasn't simply calling for pacification. He was calling for disruption. He wanted to grind the system to a halt. Why?
Because protests aren't meant to be convenient. Change doesn't happen on a schedule.
Are you in or are you out?