#BlackLivesMatter

Arnold

"My identity as a black person is massively attacked each time I hear about racism. Each time I witness the world debate whether #BlackLivesMatter? Whether my life matters."

Just because something is not happening to you, does not mean that it is not happening.

The #MeToo movement had a profound effect on me. It taught me about my privilege in this world as a man. Specifically, things that I do not have to do but women have to do. Such as:

1. Parking close to lamps or lighting when it’s night time.

2. Keeping keys out at night as potential weapons.

3. Some of my friends that are women will sometimes call me while walking home at night, thus having someone to talk to, in order to deter someone doing something untoward.

I cannot possibly list everything because the list is endless.

I try to be as courteous as I can possibly be. This may include allowing a woman to enter an elevator before me. However, I learned that it can make some people uneasy. So when I enter an elevator now, if possible I will always stand at the front and face the door. This ensures I am in full view of the person behind me and also my hands are in full view. It’s just the small things that can make some things easier and more comfortable for others, even though it may not affect you if you were in the same situation.

Seeing the video of George Floyd invoked the same feelings I had when I heard about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbery, Sheku Bayoh...Again, the list is endless.

I was crushed. I was angry. Then questioning: why the silence? Why aren’t more people outraged? Then it was the sadness. Grant and I then had a talk. I remember him saying: “channel the emotions you’re feeling into something positive”. We both agreed that education is important and is the key.

My identity as a black person is massively attacked each time I hear about racism. Each time I witness the world debate whether #BlackLivesMatter? Whether my life matters. Can’t help but think what if it was me? Would my friends stay silent? Would my colleagues stay silent? Would the people I love, demand justice?

When will YOU act? You cannot just be morally conscious, you must also be socially conscious.

In the past few weeks, I have learned so much and this is only the beginning. Learning about other people’s experiences has allowed me to address my own ignorance. I have cousins and friends that are mixed race; I have at times jokingly questioned their ‘Blackness’ because they have not watched a certain movie, do not know a certain song and dance. How can you possibly question someone’s whole identity based on trivial things such as that? Of course, everything was said in jest, these are people I love and respect, but that is not the point.

However, I have learned that just because something is trivial or a joke does not mean it does not affect others greatly. They say ignorance is bliss, but with so much readily available information, there comes a time when ignorance is not only a choice, but also insulting.

Just because something is not happening to you, does not mean that it is not happening.

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