Black Lives Matter is more than a trend
The #blacklivesmatter movement is more than just a trend; for Black people this is a constant struggle. From the filming of a police brutality attack in 1991, and the following acquittal of the officers, who beat Rodney King for 15 minutes and the resulting riots and protests to present day, where in 2020 we watch modern lynchings (Ahmaud Arbery), white privilege being used to threaten a black man’s life (Amy Cooper) and police killing an innocent man (George Floyd). In the minds of Black Americans throughout the country we wonder, are we next? Personally, I’m mixed with Black, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and White, but I have a light complexion. I never had to think “what if I’m next,” because I’m so light I know I most likely won’t be next — that is my white privilege. I completely recognize my privilege and how horrible that might sound, but it’s true.
Many law enforcement officers see darker complexions as a weapon. With that thought in mind, I think of my little sister. She has a much darker complexion than me, so much darker that people ask if we have different parents. So, what if she is next, what if her skin is seen as a weapon, what if she is the next victim of police brutality, or racism; and what if that encounter turns into her death?
That’s what the protests, hashtags, and constant social media rants are trying to change. I shouldn’t have to worry if my 12-year-old sister is going to be killed for nothing more than her skin tone, no one should. But it shouldn’t have to take watching another Black man being murdered by police officers for white people to want to show support.
All people should recognize the transgenerational trauma that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) have to cope with, but we don’t. That falls on the shoulders of the education system for under-educating us about these traumas. Two days a year learning about slavery, or the genocide of Indigenous peoples isn’t enough!
Everyone needs to self-educate and think about the lives of BIPOC on their own. And I encourage everyone to do so, because #blacklivesmatter isn’t just a trend. Going to one protest, or reposting one tweet doesn’t make you woke. Recognize this IS more than a trend, because it has been going on and most have been silent.
Many who have been silent would also say “there isn’t racism in Humboldt” or “I don’t see color.” Try to realize there are a lot of different forms of racism, from blatancy to arrogance and forms in between. If you don’t see color, then you do not see the struggles, hatred, and racism the color of our skin hands to us. There is an unwillingness to understand that BIPOC have to see life through a different perspective.
The same goes for racism in Humboldt, if you are white you haven’t experienced racism.
Therefore you truly may believe we don’t have racism in Humboldt, but the protests in mid-May against the government lockdowns proves we do. Images of white women holding signs stating “Muzzles are for dogs and slaves. I am a free human being,” alongside an image of a slave in a muzzle. This arrogance is racism and it is blatant! Protests like these were around the country with people following zero safety regulations for COVID-19. Whereas the Black Lives Matter protests are wearing masks, and are receiving violence from police, but the protesters against COVID-19 didn’t get teargassed, shot at, or killed.
The images online of the Black Lives Matter protests are showing people of all demographics, all countries, and all socio-economic status. This is the biggest civil rights movement yet, and we need to keep fighting. We do need allies to support us in this fight, but it goes beyond posting a picture. Speak out, protest, educate, and listen to BIPOC! Even when #blacklivesmatter isn’t a trend anymore, continue to speak out and fight!