The moment is important. The movement is important. Tectonic forces shift as fault lines give way to the titanic pressure born of our nation’s original sin. Righteous activists are drawing back the iron curtain concealing a four century legacy of enslavement, oppression, colonization, segregation, and forced separation. A reckoning is upon as, and long may it reign until we address and redress the trauma, theft, and death wrought by racism is all its insidious forms.
Ignoring the moment is not ok. Denying the moment is not ok. Choosing to undermine the movement is active participation in amoral treachery and doles out tangible harm against our BIPOC brothers and sisters. This is the time to listen, to learn, to understand, and to empathize with our fellow citizens long denied access to the many freedoms we take for granted. This is not the time to insist in our righteousness and double-down on our own spoon fed, sugar-coated worldview with history written by the winners. I am a privileged cis-gendered heteronormative white man born in the United States in the late 20th century. I hit the birth lottery. Sure I have worked hard in life and struggled at times, but I’ve earned so many undeserved free passes because I look the part and fit a certain role. This is not ok, and to deny it is heretical.
So what am I going to do? I am going to sit. I am going to listen. I am going to learn. I am going to accept the painful stories our Black brothers and sisters are sharing across the internet. The issue of racism and the violence it engenders is being met head on, and I will not stand in the way of this challenge. In the United States we love to highlight all our past glory. I get it, I, too, am passionate about our founding mythology. It is long past overdue we spend equal time peeling back a hidden shame so unconscionable we built power structures to bury it. We ask of people to be introspective, to probe and understand our failings so we can address them, correct them, and grow. Why do we not apply this same logic to our national story? Denying America’s failings makes zero sense, and it only leaves us weaker and morally bereft. Worse yet, it leaves our most vulnerable and oppressed exposed and endangered—and in too many cases dead at the hands of those whom pledged to protect.
We are only as free as the most oppressed and disenfranchised among us. Freedom is a cudgel of oppression up until the moment it fully liberates and embraces us all. We must challenge ourselves every moment of every day to live up to our highest ideals. The self-evident truth that every person is created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Can we finally make this a reality for all Americans? And in the event I was not clear: Black Lives Matter. Full stop. End of discussion.
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