The last couple of weeks has been a test to see the values and morals of the people around us. Social media has served as a double-edged sword—it has been useful in spreading awareness and it continues exposing the twisted ways some folks think. Overall, I have witnessed how tough this journey has been for many of my white and Asian friends because they are coming to terms that not everyone in their family shares similar views with them when it comes to systematic racism.
Racism is the elephant in the room and many older generations do not want to acknowledge it. Unfortunately, this does not only include white people—there are many people of color who also share a similar racist mentality. As an Afro Latina, I have experienced racism coming from my own Latin community. Colorism is a major issue when it comes to Latin America and the Caribbean; the concept of white passing is seen as being superior than those who are darker skinned or Black. The new topics being addressed regarding race is changing the dynamic between parents and their children. Even on social media, people have posted the challenges that come with discussing racism with people who do not want to admit that there is a problem. It is a struggle for these people to admit that Black Lives Matter because they must come to terms with their own internalized or blatant glorification of racism. it would also mean that they must dispose of a system they assumed was perfect, knowing that their ways of thinking are rooted from a history of depraved ideologies embedded by their descendants.
It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are part of the problem, which is why we keep seeing racist people fight back, terrorize, and continue to ignite the flames of racist thoughts. They are afraid.
The changes need to be made now, beginning with the restructuring of the justice system that clearly targets Black people. Police brutality is a testament that we need action because there have been too many lives lost and too much pain for families to bear. Action must be taken, and we must all do our part and speak up, write to our congressional representatives, and sign petitions for change.
Black Lives Matter, not because it seems like the trendy thing now, but because there is a major issue in this country and the world. All Black lives need to be protected, regardless of gender. To have someone die because of the color of their skin is an issue. No one should be subjected to fear because they are more likely to be profiled than white and white passing people of color. Black Lives Matter because a change needs to be made.
George Floyd’s death has sparked a fire once again in the movement, but it still is not enough. We also need justice for Breonna Taylor, who was murdered in March and whose killers are still roaming free. Her birthday was on June 5th; she would have been 27. This was a woman who had dreams and hope for the future, but her life was taken away ruthlessly. This all needs to change. We still need justice for Sandra Bland, Deborah Danner, Pamela Turner, Korryn Gains, Tony McDade, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and other Black people who were killed or injured because of police brutality.
This is a moment for us to be more aware and to spread awareness to those who are willing to learn. There are lots of great resources for those who want to understand the concepts of racism online. There are articles being published everywhere now with guidance. One of the most powerful books I read growing up was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. For more contemporary books, check out Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. There are countless books to begin with, and all it takes is a willingness to learn and grow so that one day we can destroy systematic racism.
It is extremely imperative to use our voices now, to educate if we can, and to advocate for change, even if it is tough, even if we lose friends and family, because to be silent is to be complicit, and to be complicit keeps society stagnant.