Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

Here’s What You’re Not Going to Do: Police My Activism

Often times, white people tend to add in their two cents about the “proper” way to go about activism and reform to minorities and marginalized groups. White Americans frequently branded social justice movements as violent, divisive, and ineffective simply for demanding equity and holding accountable these oppressive systems ingrained in our society for decades.

An example of this occurred the night before the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. A privileged acquaintance of mine decided to give his unsolicited opinion about how by calling out white people on social media when discussing race relations and politics, I was engendering an even deeper schism between us and hindering this country’s journey towards unity through peace and healing.

It’s often easier to give critiques on the proper ways to go about “healing” and “unifying” the nation when you’re a white cisgender male. It’s often easier to give your input on improving race relations when you possess the ability to “not see color,” and when the only time you discuss politics is for exactly that: mere discussion. It’s often easier to police marginalized groups on methods they should undertake when protesting and organizing for true justice and equity when you don’t experience the harsh realities directly affecting the humanity, safety, and prosperity for millions of people in this nation. Sorry sis! Your intentions towards healing might be genuine and good, but quite frankly, there’s a time and place for everything, and as a member of the oppressive group, it’s most certainly not your place to advise the oppressed on the proper way to battle inequity.

In reality, there is no right or wrong way to advocate for justice that is good enough for white people. Evidence of this is seen in African-American’s momentous struggle for equality throughout history. White Americans branded black people as too radical and ungrateful during the Civil Rights Movement, and now too disruptive with the Black Lives Matter Movement. But then when we reverently sit during the Pledge of Allegiance or kneel during the National Anthem, we’re too unpatriotic. America has proven that they will not listen and change no matter what road we take towards freedom, so we might as well protest in the most apologetic and carefree way we see fit.

I am a strong advocate for constructive criticism and growth towards augmenting the efficiency of my activism, but remember that in no way, shape, or form is my agenda as an activist to leave anyone comfortable. Discomfort paves the way for discussion and awareness, and unless we begin there, we risk the danger of regressing to times of normalized hatred and bigotry. But from the looks of it, that might have already begun to happen.

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