I’ve spent a lot of time listening this week. I’ve been listening to those with really important things to say and I’ve been listening to those who bring nothing to the table but noise.
I believe it’s important to listen, especially in a time like this.
I also believe it’s important to know that everyone deals with crises differently. Trying to shame someone into publicly taking a stance is not fair and not helpful. We’re living in a world where half the population is saying ‘shut up and listen’ whilst the other half of the population is saying ‘silence is violence’. And honestly, both stances have merit.
We all saw the same horrific video of a black man being murdered in broad daylight by a white police officer with no remorse or care for the terror and brutality he was committing and the life that he was taking.
This horrific video, while it affected us all, is something we each deal with in different ways.
Some take to social media/blogs. Some take to the streets. Some take to their phones. Some write letters to the mayors, the governors and anyone they think might have the power to evoke change. Some donate. Some educate themselves, their parents, siblings, friends and strangers. Others, well others have officially registered to vote. Finally. This will be their year. And some people have chosen to do all of the above.
There are so many routes to change and ALL of these things are good. One or all of these things could end up being integral to the shaking of the foundation of American culture as we know it. And, quite frankly, could create a ripple effect within all of our cultures. Because racism is a people problem whether you live in Minneapolis, Fez or Auckland. It might not be as rampant where you live, but it’s there, I promise you that.
Trying to shame someone into taking a ‘public’ stance on social media or elsewhere is not right and not helpful. Some people have a way with words, a super power that evokes passion from those who read their work, whether it through social media, email or other. But that’s not everyone. Some people have a fearless nature that calls them to the streets, a super power that tells them no matter what happens, they can handle it. Come rubber bullets, tear gas, hell or high water, they will not move until they are heard. I admire the hell outta that.
I could go on and on here, but the truth is, there are people with far more important things to say right now. People who are waking up our world to the injustice they’ve felt and experienced since the day they were born.
I just wanted to say that change looks different for everyone. There is no correct reaction to what we’ve seen and what we’re feeling. The very fact that you’re feeling is a good sign. And, it’s okay if you don’t know what to say. Those that do, they’ll say it for you.
So listen. Be empathetic. Evoke change how you can. And please don’t shame anyone because their change doesn’t look the way that you want it to.
Here I am, talking way too much still. I need to shut up.
One more thing, though. I just wanted to share this quote from an old commercial. It is one that was not about racial injustice when made, but when I heard it today it sent shivers down my spine.
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Change is coming. I can feel it in my bones.