I’ve had such a hard time stringing words together around the current state of affairs. As a black woman, I feel compelled and obligated to speak out, but a topic such as this deserves gravity, prudence, and respect.
We are in a pandemic, but don’t be deceived. We have ALWAYS been in a pandemic. Injustice and violence against socially marginalized people are ills that have run rampant across the globe since the dawn of civilization. Is ours the shame for believing that a whole movement or passage of laws on pieces of paper would change the hearts of men? For accepting that microaggressions, discrimination, and outright prejudice are just ugly threads in our social tapestry? Perhaps. Sure, everyone now has the right to vote (on paper, when they aren’t being disproportionately affected by pieces of legislation that prevent them from doing so). Everyone has a right to an education (except those receiving one in a chronically underfunded school with substandard resources).
We even have the right to bear arms (except Philando Castille)…
…Due process of law (except George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, or any of the countless men and women senselessly killed by law enforcement or others that wrongfully perceived them as threatening over the past 400 years).
One thing that is certain is that it doesn’t matter how far we’ve come, we have come far enough that there are still “exceptions” to these constitutional rights in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty. And that young white people are emulating those incidents and posting them to social media as “challenges.”
Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.Benjamin Franklin
And let’s be very clear – this is not a civil rights issue. This is a HUMAN rights issue. I’m glad to live in a world where companies are making strides to make sure their products are cruelty-free to animals, but I’m not impressed. Not when we don’t check to see if our law enforcement is cruelty-free to human beings. There is a whole industry dedicated to a lifestyle that eliminates meat and animal byproducts in the name of saving living things, but we can’t establish reform eliminating violence and other byproducts of hate in the name of humanity and evolved living. (Please understand that I’m not knocking veganism or any other way of life. It is just obvious what we value.)
Perhaps we as a collective haven’t tapped into our efficacy until now. Perhaps there has been a legitimate lack of awareness for some would-be allies. And we know much of the socially privileged class has never cared. That fact is established. But knowing is half the battle. The legacy of this time will be made in our choices at this milestone in time. We have to be done accepting the unacceptable.