Yesterday I was on Facebook, and happened to see a post by the moderator of an animal adoption group that spoke of Martin Luther King Jr, and saying that he “burned nothing, and changed the world”.
Ironically, this moderator has always made a big deal about no political posts, and yet they felt comfortable posting a meme that misused the image of MLK to promote the idea that there is a “right” way for people of color to advocate for themselves.
White people – don’t do this.
Beyond the fact that white people who usually quote or meme MLK actually know very little about his actual beliefs, and just love to promote the white ideal of what he was, posting things like this show an utter lack of understanding of why Black people are angry, and the fact that they have every right to be.
I’ve talked before on this blog about how those in positions of superiority will gatekeep emotions to keep others in check. Once again, there are people who are insisting there is a “correct” way to fight back against a society that dehumanizes and punishes people for their skin color, gender, and sexuality.
It’s supremacist BS. Any group the only does the “correct” means of fighting back, wouldn’t be fighting back at all. Which is, of course, what the supremacists want, even if it’s at a subconscious level.
This is where the listening comes in.
It’s understandable to find riots scary. But fear is no excuse not to listen. It’s no excuse not to educate ourselves, learn what the systemic issues are that have led us to this point, and to understand that constant oppression has a cost for everyone.
So, white people – start listening. You want people to believe you’re not racist? Then you have to be actively anti-racist. Stop clutching your pearls, and really listen.
For a good start, here’s a moving video by Trevor Noah that speaks to how we’ve gotten here, based on recent events.