Posted by Mindy Shamp on
I’ve been to the land of hypocracy lately, voicing my opinion on hot topics on social media. It’s something that usually drives me crazy and I’ve passingly complained about myself, but these days of being more comfortable in my skin and wanting to make my world and yours a better place have changed my mind. I’ve always noticed and mentioned that the older people get, the more comfortable they are voicing their opinions. Older and wiser, right? I just had to correct myself as I accidentally typed “wider” first, but sometimes that’s true as well…but that’s a whole separate post about comfortability y’all.
I’ve been sharing #blacklivesmatter posts. I’ve seen them in previous times of turmoil and didn’t really understand them myself. Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right people yet, but this time I am. Before I thought it was enough to say that #alllivesmatter, because unity and peace and love and we’re all human and let’s make this world a better place for everyone. But I didn’t really understand the meaning behind the movement.
Before I start too much hashtagging and talking about the differences between the #alllivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter movements, know that I understand this is not our only problem in this country or in this world. But right now, the conversation is about this. And the older I get, the more I realize that remaining silent on important issues is just as bad as taking the wrong side publicly. So hear me and try to understand what I mean, and what most everyone else means, when we say #blacklivesmatter.
All of this to say, I’ve been listening. I don’t watch television and I have trouble relating to friends who are obsessed with dramatic reality shows or stream entire seasons of a television series in a matter of days. I’ll tell you where my addiction lies: reading comments and articles galore. It’s unhealthy and can get obsessive, but I can’t stop. I’m fascinated by what people think and what they are willing to say while hiding behind a keyboard. I read things from people who agree with me on topics, and people who are on the opposing side, and everyone in between. There’s a reason I almost was a psych major. It pulls me in, and I’ve wanted to scream all the things to all the people for years. STOP IT. STOP SAYING THINGS TO PEOPLE (real people) THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY TO THEIR FACES. STOP. But the reality is, some people would say horrible things in person. These people just aren’t nice, period. It isn’t because they’re liberal hippies or uptight conservatives or because of their skin color or gender or sexual orientation or WHATEVER ELSE. It’s because they’re not good people. And nothing you type is going to change that.
What I’m hearing from my friends and acquaintances who are open-minded and loving - people of all backgrounds, y’all - is that enough is enough. Racism is still a problem in this country. That’s it. Let’s change this because it has to be changed. Talk about it with each other, but I mean actually talk. Don’t just blurt out your opinion and insist that you’re right. Be able to look someone in the eye and say, “I hear you. I understand what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and for listening to mine.” Everyone deserves that kind of respect. Everyone.
Black lives matter TOO. That is what this movement is about. I in no way think police officers are all corrupt entitled people who have god complexes. I realize that some people who are treated less than fairly may have done something to make people of authority feel threatened. Yes, all lives do matter. I’m here to ask you to open your mind. Listen to the people who can tell you their real fears. Black people who have experienced them, white people who try to understand those fears but will never know what it feels like to actually experience them, or any person of any race who can tell you what it’s like to be anything but white. Whether you believe there’s a problem in this country with race, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand their real fears and feelings without judging. That’s all I’m asking.
If you’re afraid to talk about it because you’re worried you might say the wrong thing, or offend someone, or maybe because you don’t even have a black friend or acquaintance to talk to about this and you’d like to…just start the discussion somewhere, in some way. Just be real and honest and open and understanding, as much as you can. And know that staying silent about anything that’s wrong in this world really does allow it to keep happening. If we just laugh it off and pretend it isn’t as bad as others are making it out to be, I promise you that it’s worse in places you aren’t seeing it. And it’s much easier now for those stories to be made public. Listen to them, and remember that you’re listening to things that are happening to other humans. No matter what they look like. Humans, you guys. Be human.
And because I can’t post anything without a photo, also please remember this. Racism is taught and learned. If you insist on teaching it to your children, consciously or not, don’t you dare teach it to mine. That’s where I can’t keep a calm and level head, guys. This kid will like you and play with you no matter what color your tongue is. As long as you’re kind. And fun. :)
Also, this facebook page is all about uniting us and sharing stories of love and acceptance. Please go here and have your heart warmed.