Black Lives Matter
I’m sure many of you are aware of what’s happening in America right now. After 400 years of systemic racism, they’re finally being forced to confront their failures as a society. But this is more of an opinion from a student who still cannot believe what they’ve seen rather than an update on what’s happened so far. However, I will include some resources at the end for those who are willing to donate or raise awareness. Thank you in advance for anything you do to help.
I had heard about the death of George Floyd, but I knew none of the details as my empathy stops me from following the news and constantly reading about horrors I can do nothing to prevent. In fact, when I first discovered what had happened, I didn’t even intend to, I simply logged onto Instagram for the first time in a while.
I was immediately greeted with hundreds of black squares and my feed was filled with messages and resources about BLM (Black Lives Matter). And as I watched countless stories and videos, I finally stumbled across the video of George Floyd. The entire time I watched it, I could barely breathe, my heart hurt and I couldn’t stop myself from crying. It was the most disgusting, inhumane, unforgivable thing I had ever seen and whilst I had no idea who any of those police officers were, I felt immense hatred welling up inside me.
I find it unfathomable how anyone could ignore someone’s pleas for life and air. A basic human right that no one should ever be denied. How can anyone just casually kill another person? I don’t understand it and I don’t want to, I don’t ever want to try and justify that, not even for the sake of ‘devil’s advocate’. They killed a man in cold blood with little to no provocation. I feel so much anger and hurt that it’s hard to articulate. How can there still be racism in 2020? I’m not black and I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life, suffering minimal racism from a few stupid people and some of my more ignorant family. But I still feel the pain of a people who have been fighting their whole lives just to be allowed to exist. I’ve always wanted to travel and I’ve never really feared for my life before, but I felt so much fear thinking about how that could have been me in 10 or 20 years time or someone I know only because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After watching that video, as difficult as it was, I wanted to find more trustworthy resources than snippets of protest videos on Instagram and moved onto YouTube and various other places on the web. I saw another video of a man who was pleading, saying he didn’t do anything as police tackled him and ultimately killed him, and another of a man simply defending himself against the police before they shot him with no visible remorse. I knew police brutality existed in America, but seeing how real it was and having even an inkling of an idea of how terrifying it must be for African-Americans, was on another level. I wanted to do something, but I felt so helpless. I didn’t have the funds to make a sufficient donation, I didn’t have a following or platform to spread resources to help, and another part of me felt as though I didn’t deserve to feel hurt.
I fully acknowledge that I am privileged, perhaps I don’t have white privilege, but I don’t think I’ll ever have to suffer as they have to. So a part of me is guilty that I’m not doing more, and guilty for not liking the way I look instead of being proud.
More than anything, I want there to be real change. I watched children crying about how unfair it is, and a toddler telling her mom not to cry or she’ll get shot. How can Americans live comfortably when they are murdering their own people? Children should be allowed to have happy childhoods with no worries and be treated as equals. I want everyone to be happy and to stop hating one another, a naive but desperately hopeful goal. I know it’s impossible to please everyone and there are vile people who are happy with the way it is now because they believe it’s right or, because it doesn’t affect them, it doesn’t matter. It’s nauseating to think about. But I also know that I’m not innocent, I’ve let racist jokes slide from friends because I know they’re not actually racist, so it’s okay, but it’s not and I should have said something or at least tried to emphasise that it’s not okay. I wouldn’t let me family get away with it, and I shouldn’t allow my friends to either, being quiet is being complicit.
This is more of an opinionated ramble, but I hate myself for being silent on social media because I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong, and I’m angry at the world. I don’t know the entire unfolding of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or the countless other innocent people who lost their lives to monsters, but I know they had families and people they cared about. Those people will never get to see them again because some arrogant ‘humans’ deemed they weren’t worthy of living. And I know this sounds very aggressive, hateful and maybe even sensational, but until America and the world fixes itself, fixes the police and actually listens, I won’t stop being angry. Even once it begins to settle and people return to normality, my heart will continue to bear the pain and hurt that so many have endured.
Thank you for listening to what I’ve had to say, I know it might have been uncomfortable, but that should drive you to want to do something. We can’t let this momentum die down, we can’t stand by and wait until another black person is killed. The time is now. Please if you can, visit some of the websites I’ve listed below, if you can’t donate, spreading awareness is helping. Every action against the oppression of black people is helping.
Links for donations
- George Floyd Memorial Fund – GoFundMe
- Justice For Breonna Taylor – GoFundMe
- Justice for Dave McAtee – GoFundMe
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
- Reclaim the Block
- Color of Change
- Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB)
Links for petitions and other resources
Links for videos
- Zoe Amira’s BLM Video – All ad revenue to be donated
- Take a Knee – Nyota Parker
- Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement documentary (2016)
- The problem with saying “All Lives Matter”
- Short heartwarming video of Gianna Floyd
- Systemic Racism Explained
- Speech from John Boyega at Hyde Park Protest
- Trevor Noah Speaking on George Floyd, Amy Cooper and more