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My Experience at a BLM Protest.


I have not been posting recently because I find it has been important for me to listen, self-educate, and process the protests transpiring all over the world.


Cursory knowledge of the history behind these protests is not acceptable. Any decent human knows racism is unacceptable, but trying to understand why blacks across America and the world feel so much hurt is absolutely essential.


And anti-racism REQUIRES each of us to acknowledge our own racial biases, not deny those biases, so we can actively work towards changing those mindsets.


I had not yet taken part in any protest till yesterday evening due to my shoulder injury and concern for further injuring it being part of a large crowd.


And yes, COVID is still a concern of mine.


I wore a mask as I participated, with the vast majority of protesters doing the same. Masks work, people - this has been proven over and over again. Being outdoors and the warm, humid weather may also be contributing to limiting spread as large spikes have not yet been noted during these near-summer months, but if you pay attention across the world, COVID is still VERY much alive and killing many. Fortunately, it seems there is a lot of optimism regarding a vaccine being available by the end of the year, so let us hope this is true.


We will see.


I attended the protest with a friend as I was curious to finally experience one myself. I have heard from friends about their positive experiences and had felt some modicum of guilt for not participating earlier.


But the protest I went to in Union Square, in New York City, was a joke. And a sad one at that.


There were barely any black people there, with white people being the ones leading most of the chants. That is fine IF the white organizers were actually educated, but some very clearly were not.


White guilt is a thing. So is fear of criticism by others. But without acknowledging these as possible motivations behind many people participating in these protests, they are not supporting the movement, but hindering it and making a mockery of it.


Here is an embarrassing example of this.


There was a white man who yelled to the crowd to repeat after him the names of black people who had been killed due to police brutality.


He could not name more than 4-5 off the top of his head.


He just started laughing nervously when he got to that point, and what seemed like the only black organizer there, handed him her phone with more names.


He then started to read off other names, but many names were those less known amongst the broader non-black community. Most people in the crowd did not recognize many of the names with only quiet, mumbled repeats of those names, followed by loud, clear shouts every time a familiar name was stated.


The whole thing was cringeworthy. These gatherings make a mockery of BLM.


BLM organizers should demand those leading scheduled protests be well-educated and serve as role models for those participating in these protests. Because all I saw were a bunch of white people feigning anti-racism with little substance or evidence to conclude otherwise.


I guess it was good I was wearing mask as it hid the massive smirk across my face.


It is NOT good enough to just show up. All the signs, pictures, and chants ring hollow if the person holding, taking, or yelling them is also hollow.


People need to do a LOT more listening and self-educating and not just showing up to protests so they can actually understand why they are there, and to take steps towards truly becoming anti-racist.


I repeat: guilt or fear of criticism should not be the driving force behind participation.


Remember when I said do not be afraid


to speak to them

to admit your own biases

to ask questions

to learn from them.


Learn to be anti-racist. Learn to be anti-bigot.


?


GO DO THAT.


You cannot effectively work to change the world around you until you first ACTIVELY work to change yourself. Because news flash: you are a part of the world too.


Be responsible for your own betterment. But because this is so hard to do, people hope others will do the work instead so they can avoid it.


This reality plagues humans in general, whether it is protesting systemic racism and police brutality or trying to save a marriage.


Be better. Do better. Be a real solution. Not feign one.


Yes, white silence is violence. But so is white complacency.


Okay, I am off my soapbox. For now.


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