“White silence equals violence.” It’s a phrase you may have seen on Twitter, or being chanted in the streets. But wherever it’s uttered, it rings deeply true. I understand this powerful mantra to mean that it is my duty and obligation to share my opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and how black people respond to their oppression, and that is exactly what I intend to do. That’s why I write today to say once and for all: I support the right to protest, so long as it is peaceful and most of all, ineffective.
As a white ally, I use my voice to share my thoughts, all of which are based on what I would call “gut feeling”, and it’s never led me wrong. I see and hear the pain of my fellow black Americans, and I take that to heart, even if I don’t always agree with the ways it’s expressed. No black person (or person of any color!) should be made to feel unsafe in this country, but I don’t believe in defunding the police because, like, I don’t want to live in a lawless society. I intuitively believe a world without police would be more dangerous, and I’ll always feel that way regardless of what counter-evidence is presented to me. It’s just obvious!
People talk a lot about how fundamentally broken the system is, and I completely honor that perspective, but at the same time it clearly has the potential to work. Need proof? I’m a woman, and it’s working for me. So I support everyone’s right to take to the streets and peacefully protest (we all need a little cathartic release here and there!), as long as we can all agree we’re not going to actually change the essential aspects of our country. I mean, abolish prisons? Where would the bad people go? I can’t even imagine what that would look like, and so I know that it’s impossible.
Some people will try to tell me that as a “white” woman, my opinions on these issues matter less. I know most people who say this are just sexist and I probably shouldn’t even engage, but I have to call out the hypocrisy: Aren’t you fighting for a world where all of our voices are of equal importance? That’s what I believe, and it’s why I encourage you all to wave your signs and make your voices heard! As long as we’re all on the same page that nothing should really change, change, and also maybe consider that you could be doing things differently if you want people to take you seriously? Maybe take a lesson from the great Martin Luther King Jr. and try just being chill about this stuff so you don’t scare people! It’s what he would have wanted, and I say that with complete confidence.
So get out there and protest, then go home and just feel good that you got to have your moment. But please don’t expect things to “change”, because the rest of us are not really interested!