On my Instagram account, I follow a few friends, but mostly I’m on there to find recipes and ideas for the various crafty/hobby things I’m into. It’s a pretty happy and peaceful and inspiring place to be and I’m pretty protective of that.
In the past few days, several of the people I follow – food bloggers, hand lettering professionals, card makers, etc. – have been posting things that have disrupted this social media utopia that I have worked hard to build.
Rather than the regular recipes or lettering tips that have me drooling or rushing for my brush pens, they have posted their positions on racism, in response to what is going on currently in the US.
I knew that speaking up and speaking out were the right things to do. I had even also thought about posting something. But did I really want to destroy my happy place? Did I want to open myself up to the controversy that would likely come from such a post?
While doing my standard mental prevarication, I noticed that some of the accounts specifically stated that they were voicing their positions because of the large followings they had and they felt a responsibility to not stay silent about it.
Sadly, my next thought was, “Well, I only have 120 or so followers so it doesn’t matter if I voice my position.” Underlying that was the unvoiced (even in my head) thought that I was off the hook. Momentary relief!
Thankfully it didn’t fully quiet my conscience and when one of my favourite quotes popped up today, it called me on the carpet.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to stand by and do nothing.Edmund Burke
That was a punch to my integrity gut. That quote has been a favourite of mine for a long time. But how important is it to me really if I am willing to be one of those “good” [people] who stand by and do or say nothing?
And yet, there I was, looking for reasons not to speak up. Reasons to let “someone else” do something.
I am ashamed to say it, but there it is. And that’s OK. We have to acknowledge the uncomfortable realities within ourselves in order to really learn, change and move forward.
So here I am.
It doesn’t matter if I have 12 followers, 120 followers, or 120 million followers.
If I really, truly believe that quote, then I have to speak, or accept that I tacitly approve the behaviour that I would like to think that I oppose.
And, really, I’m not doing this for anyone else’s benefit but my own. I need to say something because I need to know that I can have my actions match what I say are my values.
This, then, is my first step – publicly acknowledging that systemic racism does still exist and is very much alive. I live with white privilege and because of that I don’t have to worry about a policeman’s knee on my throat. I can breathe.
I need to figure out now what I can do to change this reality – at least in my own little corner of the world.
I don’t know what all my next steps will be. One thing for sure will be writing more posts about this as I move along in my learning process.
I’ll likely screw up along the way, but I need to not let fear of doing or saying something wrong paralyze me into inaction.
If I come across any resources that I think might be helpful, I’ll be sure to share them.
Till then…Be well and be safe.
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