In Responding to White Supremacy, Your Actions Reveal Your Priorities
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Politics

In Responding to White Supremacy, Your Actions Reveal Your Priorities

Your hashtags are not defeating Nazis.

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In Responding to White Supremacy, Your Actions Reveal Your Priorities
Generocity Philly

The recent events in Charlottesville were horrendous. I won’t take the time to rehash what happened, because everybody already knows. It’s everywhere; you can’t go online without reading about it, or see a friend without talking about it.

The fact that Nazis live among us has been made abundantly, unavoidably clear. People across the country are denouncing white supremacy and vowing to fight in the name of love and equality.

But I’ve got to be totally honest. I love my family and friends deeply, but it’s time to cut the crap. If every single one of my friends who posted about Charlottesville this week had ever actually put their money where their mouth is and gotten consistently involved in activism, we might be living in a different world right now. But I scroll through my newsfeed, and half the time I think: where have you been? And when am I going to start seeing this “fight” you claim to be a part of?

You may think that you are a part of the movement against white supremacy, but your actions reveal your priorities. Talk is nice, but what you actually do reveals far more about your values than the hashtags you include in your Twitter profile.

And from my and others’ observations, white people are totally down to tackle white supremacy...until it’s inconvenient. We are willing to speak out against racial oppression…until it’s uncomfortable. Rather than becoming a way of life, disrupting white supremacy becomes a hobby to pick up when the hashtags are hot, and then drop as soon as the issues become local, persistent, or difficult.

Balance is, of course, key. You cannot possibly fight for a greater cause if you are not also taking care of yourself, and you simply cannot be in two places at once. You’re not going to be able to make every single event.

But you can make enough.

Self-care is important, but sometimes it starts to turn into self-excuse. When you are missing a demonstration or event, ask yourself: why? What’s keeping you? Was today a long day? Were you hoping to hang out with some friends tonight? Does the event in question conflict with Game of Thrones?

Sometimes there are work, school, or family related conflicts that you simply can’t get out of. And you know what? Sometimes you will have to take a breather and stay in for the sake of your own sanity. But start to take a tally of every time you skip out on a part of the fight. If you’re consistently turning down opportunities to disrupt white supremacy to watch Game of Thrones, then guess what? You care about Game of Thrones more than you care about black people.

I’m sorry if that truth is uncomfortable, but it’s what your actions reveal. And I’m done beating around the bush. Peoples' lives are on the line.

Not everyone’s contribution to the fight is or should be identical. If crowds give you mad anxiety, then maybe your lane is to host consistent letter-writing gatherings, or give people a place to reconvene once protests are over. Are you a teacher, or a parent? Use your influence as an educator to create the next generation of change-makers. If you’re in a small town without much action, maybe start an educational book club, or see what your local councilperson is up to. Stage a sit-in. Take a leaf out of Baltimore’s book and project the documentary 13th onto the side of a government building. Or set a time and a place to take down a Confederate monument and see if your city can’t suddenly get it done overnight themselves. The point is: there’s always something we can be doing. We just have to look for it.

Activism doesn’t fall in your lap, friends. It’s something you have to seek out. And that’s not always convenient.

We like to say that love will win. I like to believe in this sentiment as much as the next person. But love isn’t a mystical force that defeats evil on its own. Love isn’t simply butterflies and rainbows. Real love is doing what’s right, even when it’s hard.

Love will only win if we make it win. Love will only win if we let it inspire, anger, motivate, and mobilize us.

So what are you doing or planning right now to make a difference?

Do you believe in love?

If so…can I see it?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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