Before I say anything, let me just put out a disclaimer saying that I recognize that white privilege is a thing. It hurts my heart to even think it, let alone type it out like this, but I am willing to recognize that my life is a lot easier because of my skin color. That is why I think it is so important to share what I'm about to say. Our world is broken, and it is my responsibility to stand up for what is right.
I have always believed that skin color doesn't matter. Growing up, I never actually noticed the ratio of black, white, or Asian people. It just wasn't something that I thought was a big deal. In high school, one of my teachers made such a profound statement that makes the idea of racism sound absolutely INSANE (because it is). There are not multiple "races" of human beings. There is only ONE human race with MANY ethnic groups. So if we all are considered the "human race," and we all bleed red, why is there so much division? Why do we go out of our way to make others feel worthless?
People are people, and they should be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect - no matter what they look like. Unfortunately, such a seemingly easy concept hasn't sunk into the minds of people all over the world just yet. Instead, hate crimes, wars, and prejudices have taken over. And for what? So we can use the differences of others to put ourselves on a bigger pedestal? Racism is about so much more than the color of someone's skin.
The recent events that happened with the murder of George Floyd have me stunned, but what has me even MORE stunned is watching people handle the situation. Local businesses are being ransacked and just plain destroyed while people call it "fighting for justice." That isn't fighting for justice. That is just using a persecuted man, a martyr, as an excuse to go wild and shout, "ANARCHY!" There are better ways to fight for justice that are a lot less destructive. Knowing the situation, do you think George Floyd would want to hear that people "avenged" his death with violence and destruction? Or would he want us all to learn from his tragedy and grow closer as a country and as human beings?
Before you say, "How can you care more about the way we're seeking justice than about the man that died with a knee on his neck," that is not what I'm saying. I think the way George Floyd was killed is an awful way to die. No one deserves that kind of disrespect and humiliation. However, in seeking justice for the situation, I'm looking at the long term. What is burning police cars in West Hollywood going to do? What is shouting, "**** THE POLICE" at the top of your lungs going to do? The more violence and destruction we let penetrate our society, the more the government is going to crack down on us. Why should we give the police a reason to put us in our place? It all just seems a little counterintuitive to me.
The more I think about this, the more I realize that skin color is not the heart of the issue - it's love. Since I was released into the world to live amongst adults, I have noticed that there is a lot of hatred, criticism, and just a plain lack of warmth in society. No one knows how to love or communicate because they have a big, flashy screen to hide behind instead of learning how to treat others. It is so much easier to type something nasty under a post or through a text instead of looking at that person in the eye to tell them how we really feel. It's so much easier to sit on the sideline, camera in hand, waiting to post the drama instead of intervening. We all are subconsciously looking for something to make ourselves look better, even if that means tearing someone else down. It's repulsive.
Hearing of this tragedy that cost George Floyd his life has ignited this fire in my soul more than ever. No amount of violence is going to change the gross stereotype that Americans have claimed for themselves. Instead, why don't we try standing up for what's right with our actions - loving actions. Prove the police wrong. Make them look dumb by attacking them with kindness. Since all of this happened, I have wanted nothing more than to put some love back into this world. It is a broken world that cannot be fixed with burning and looting. We are called to love one another. That is the best and most important thing anyone can do as a human being. It is also one of the hardest things you could probably ever do, which is why so many of us turn to hate and violence first. That Golden Rule that you learned in kindergarten wasn't just some cute rhyme to get students to behave. It is the building blocks of learning to treat others with respect.
"Treat others the way you want to be treated."
It is SO simple, yet we still haven't gotten the hang of it.
In this time, I want to challenge everyone that is reading this to love above all else. Let go of that pedestal that prevents you from connecting with people and loving them wholeheartedly. When you wanna shoot that middle finger up because some jerk cuts you off on the highway, fight that urge. Let it roll off your back, and recognize that his reckless driving didn't cost you your life. When you see someone in need, help them instead of instinctually pulling out a camera. When you walk through the grocery store, look someone in the eye and smile! You have no idea of the impact of simple eye contact and a smile. There is so much that we can do to make the world a better place without reaching for that spotlight. What you do when no one's watching reveals who you are at your core.
I think protesting is a very visual representation of the First Amendment rights that we ALL are privileged with as Americans. It can be a beautiful picture of community, but it can also quickly get out of hand and cause more harm than good. If you want to protest injustice, do it peacefully. Don't resort to violence and give the police a reason to harm you. Fight back by not fighting. Kill them with kindness. I promise you, it's a sneak attack that they'll never see coming.
Let's stand together and avenge George Floyd properly. Thanks for listening.