When Did Everything Become So Black and White?

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Photo credit: Nicholas Kwok

America is in a place of turmoil. There is no denying it. In other words, “shit has hit the fan.” The saying, things aren’t as black and white as they seem, is currently how America operates. If you aren’t white, you are a person of color. If you are a Republican, you are not a Democrat. If you support this, you do not support that. When did everything become so black and white?

With all of the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, America has hit its breaking point. There have been several protests since May 25, the date of his death, and as they continue, more and more violence seems to be coming from them. So, why is it that everyone is led to believe that the police are the enemy and the protesters are the good guys? Or, why is it that the protesters are meant to look like the enemy and the police are meant to be the good guys? You see, this is another example of things being black and white. There is no more middle ground.

Protesters want to be heard. They want their voice heard. America was built on freedom. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom of choice.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is exercising their freedoms not to destroy the country, but to educate and spread their message. To not be drowned out in the media. To not be drowned out on social media. To not be washed out by people saying “I know how you feel” who will never spend a day in their shoes.

All BLM wants is to be listened to, not heard. Listening means you are actively hearing and acknowledging what someone is saying. Hearing means you are astute to the sounds but do not acknowledge what is being said.

While America is finally LISTENING to BLM, things have again turned out to be black and white between BLM and the police. Social media is ablaze with people having to pick a side. You are either for BLM or you are for the police. If you pick one, there is no way you can support the other. THAT IS FALSE!

Not all policemen/women abuse their power. There are plenty of good, great, officers who abide and enforce the law. It is the select few who abuse their power which gives others a bad name.

Police are not the enemy. Their JOB is to protect and serve the United States. They are not a domestic terrorist organization. They are not out just doing this for a paycheck on their spare time. They are not doing it because it’s cool and they’ll be able to kill people. They have a passion just like each and every other person has a passion.

The same should be said about protesters as well. Everyone who is out protesting is not someone who is a looter, an arsonist, or someone looking to pick a fight. Again, it is the “few bad apples” who seem to give BLM a bad name.

So why is it that if you are against police brutality, you lump the entire police force in the same category of being abusive if it is just a few bad cops. Or why is it that you are against protesters because a few rioters give protesters a bad name.

There is no middle ground in America anymore. We have been completely divided as a nation on everything down to Twix bars with choosing the left or right Twix.

What is happening is not an issue of protesters vs. police. It is not that all lives do not matter. The BLM movement is to highlight the injustices and inequalities that exist in the black community. It is to make people aware and do more than just say something. Stand up when you see something that is not right. Speak out and make your voice be heard to push for change. Social media posts won’t bring change to this country. Getting out on the streets to spread a positive message, speaking with local government officials, joining local organizations WILL help make a change.

This country needs healing. There is a pandemic in this country and it isn’t COVID-19. The pandemic is racism. If you say “I’m not racist but”, you’re a racist. If you say “well, they may have deserved it”, you’re a racist. If you have to convince yourself or others you’re not a racist, think about your words and actions that would make them consider calling you that in the first place.

Before sharing another social post, think about what and why you’re sharing it. Is it factual? Is it correct? Can it be left to interpretation and be taken negatively by someone?

The first step to improving everyone’s lives and treating everyone equally is looking in the mirror. How can we expect everyone else to move forward if we don’t take a step ourselves?

Take a moment to check out this TED Talk by Verna Myers which will help you take a look in the mirror and take the first step forward.

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