Does this movement matter? Um duh, but clickbait is a thing. That said, this may be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever written. Mind you, I’ve published blog posts about my biggest fears and insecurities, put people on blast, exposed my sex life and addictions, and posted a blog about my relapse just days after. Then, why is this so difficult?
I’ve always been an open person. When it comes to talking about me, I have no shortage of things to say. However, what’s going on in the US right now, being a white privileged female, living in Vietnam, feels so far from me. I want to know what to say, but I don’t. My heart hurts for the world and the people of color who have so many obstacles in our society, but I could never claim to understand what they’re going through. In the past when riots like this in my country broke out, I stayed silent because I felt my voice wouldn’t make a difference. I hid and took advantage of my white privilege by closing my eyes and ears to the truth that our society was and still is so fucked.
Don’t think so? In 2018, the median income for an African American household was $41,361 U.S. dollars compared to $70,642 for non-Hispanic white households. About 40% of homelessness in the U.S. is African American even though they only make up 13% of the population, and the poverty rate is 20.8%, which is more than double the poverty rate for white people. (8.1%) We haven’t even started talking about racism. 78% of African Americans think they’re being treated unfairly and 15.8% of black students in the US reported experiencing race-based bullying or harassment.
Black lives matter. But why talk about it if what I say won’t really make a difference? Because that’s only what I thought, but what I thought may not be true. That goes for us all. It’s so easy to think we can’t make a difference. “Who am I to make the world better?” “There’s no hope.” “This will end soon enough without my help.” etc. There are millions of copouts as to why we don’t need to speak up or act out. Deep down though, we know it feels wrong to be complacent because we’re lying to ourselves when we say we can’t make a difference. I’m not telling you to go climb the Empire State Building, and cause a scene. Our actions don’t have to be big or acknowledged by the masses to make a difference. More simple acts of kindness can make an impactful change.
I will never forget September 11th for many reasons, but one being what happened to my mother that morning. She was in a grocery store parking lot on 9/11. She noticed a man of color, in torn and worn-out clothes, looking distraught. He looked homeless. She could have easily looked the other way to go about her business and get her shopping done. Instead, she asked if he was okay. He told her that his son worked on the 98th floor of the first tower that fell. He tried contacting him all morning but hadn’t heard back. Needless to say, his son’s life was likely lost that day. For the next ten minutes, my mother and this stranger embraced, crying into each others arms.
Imagine how much that man needed soneone’s support in that moment. Not to mention, how that one act of kindness stuck with me nearly 20 years later. Shit, that made me feel old. Anyways, you get the point. Show up and show your support in whatever way you can because you can make a difference. Black lives matter, and what you do to support their lives matters too.