A show of support is not optional but mandatory.
For the past 24 hours, we’ve all virtually bore witness to the murder of George Floyd. A 46-year-old black man, a father , a husband, a brother who was brutally killed in Minneapolis at the hands of 3 white and an asian police officer earlier this week. A few weeks before, another video went viral, the shooting of a 25 year old unarmed black man named Ahmaud Arbery who was killed by a white supremacist father and son. Two weeks before that, a black woman, Breonna Taylor was killed at her home in Texas while sleeping, by three police officers who blindly fired upon entry.
Today there is a riot, a movement, not only in the streets of Minneapolis but on social media, a show of resistance and solidarity all too familiar to the original Black Lives Matter movement of 2013. How many of us from different races are all fans of the culture in music, sports, fashion etc. It is important that you do not disappear when the culture is being threatened by police brutality and white supremacy.
The community needs allies and as beneficiaries it is all our responsibilities to be there. This is the same community that has gifted us with literature, Art, Science, Hip Hop, Jazz, Streetwear, popular slang, Michael Jordan, Virgil Abloh, Beyoncé , Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Colin Luther Powell, Kobe Bryant, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Colin Kaepernick, Nina Simone, Diana Ross, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, W.E.B. Du Bois, Alex Haley, Langston Hughes and the list goes on and on. The impact of black culture has been universal in influencing every single aspect of modern day pop culture and aesthetic down to the very way in which we think and if you have somehow enjoyed, been inspired by or benefitted from any of these products of the culture, like the majority of the world has, as designers, artists, musicians, or just everyday people, then you have no right to remain silent.
Remaining silent is just as big a part of the problem and it is in no way ethical for one to enjoy the culture, but then ignore it when it is being threatened. Remaining silent while benefiting is acknowledging that Barack Obama and others exist while dismissing the experiences of names like Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery.
It is forgetting that as black men in American society, these names held the same potential as these powerful black men which we idolize, but simply were not given the opportunity to do so. It is also ignoring the journeys of these cultural idols, and refusing to acknowledge that before and even during fame they too had similar experiences of being black in America that could have easily been cut short by another racist police officer robbing the world of another potential president, astronaut , scientist, rapper, athlete etc.
Helping to preserve and protect the culture and its people is the best way to show one’s appreciation.
Blatant racism still exists, on a general and corporate level, no one likes to be associated with it. It is like a piece of dirty laundry which no one wants to touch. Which is why every tweet, share, and show of support is important.
However, acknowledge that you cannot equate yourself in any way to the experience of being black, but that you listen to those who speak, and show your support, not with the intention of being a hero or saving the world, but simply with the humble mindset of giving a minute towards the bigger picture of justice. This can be done through the sharing of a facebook status, tweet, instagram story or post or donating to the families affected or the Black Lives Matter movement.
Thank you for listening.