You perhaps have noticed I’ve avoided addressing certain current events, on video or on any of my social media, which I hasten to add, is by design. And in case you’re reading this 5 years from now and scratching your head, I’m talking about the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chavin and the subsequent protests and riots. Troubling times!
About My Silence
I vowed early on that my YouTube channel would not become a political or social commentary platform. My viewers represent literally every race and creed from over 50 countries worldwide. I’ve given an unspoken pledge to deliver a specific type of art related content. I intend to deliver on that pledge. For many, that content is also an escape from the cares and burdens of real life and a chance to unwind, breathe a breath of fresh air and relax. At least I hope it is. To dive into such topics would devolve into scores, maybe hundreds of comment and email debates totally unrelated to my usual content. Wading through, affirming, debating or deleting such commentary is not something I think is time practical or useful to my audience as a whole. So I won’t do it. My blog, however may be the most appropriate way to address it.
A Hashtag Free Zone
I should also mention I don’t generally get behind the social hashtags, buzzwords, slogan chants and .org movements associated with such events. Not because I think they have zero validity. It’s a mixed bag. I may understand and support some of those interests in spirit, but what I’ve found is that those groups and terms quickly change in focus, meaning and association, becoming highly confusing and requiring constant re-parsing. We’re already seeing that. When a hashtag, label or slogan has to constantly be re-explained or its use corrected, it has lost it’s effectiveness. When I need to, I can state quite clearly on my own where I stand on anything. Social posting trends don’t define my thoughts very well and are ineffective in my humble opinion. However, I respect anyone else’s right to participate in them.
That said, and in case you were wondering, I whole-heartedly support peaceful protest and free speech rights. All sides should have their say without fear of being silenced. Aside from that being who we are as a nation, it also forces me to do my homework and motivates me to spend more time listening. But I rarely listen or respect the message when it’s being shouted at me. I’m funny that way.
What Matters To Me
I care deeply about life, pure and simple. Specifically, in this case, black lives. I believe they are precious in God’s sight. We are a nation of laws intended to protect us, allow us to live in peace and preserve our freedoms. That rule of law foundation obviously betrayed George Floyd. It has often betrayed other people of color and we are reminded of that. George’s family deserves to get all the justice they are entitled to. Make no mistake, as I reflect on all of this I’m troubled for others like George. But I also mourn for lives like David Dorn and David Patrick Underwood. Their black lives should matter too or there isn’t any interest in justice! Not really. I’m also deeply troubled for all the small business owners affected by riots. Since racism is the underlying focus, many of those business owners were also people of color who lost everything, insurance covering only a fraction or not at all and are now wondering how a hashtag, a blackout screen or a movement has helped anything matter for them. The only point I’m making is that pain is everywhere right now and none of it should be ignored or dismissed out of hand for the sake of a hashtag. Compassion and justice for all goes in many directions. It’s supposed to be blind. I think I heard that somewhere.
Going for Gold
Here’s where I’ll leave it. If you don’t know what to do just take a breath. Every emotion may come and they’re all valid: sadness, fear, disappointment, shame, anger, uncertainty, depression, etc. But regardless of emotion, listen…a lot…to all sides. While you’re learning speak sparingly and gently when you speak at all. If you’re white, seek out a POC and ask questions. Find out what their life has been like. Don’t make unfounded assumptions about people on any side of the issues. If you’re quick to shut your ears and become part of the noise, finger pointing, shaming or pushing everyone into internment camps of thought, you’re not learning anything and you may even be part of the problem. Silence can be golden.
If you still don’t know what to do, try this bit of gold. Re-commit yourself to the golden rule. Remember that one? “Do unto others…” How would you like to be treated, or thought of, or fought for? What allies would mean the most to you? Do that, be that or seek that for someone else, someone of color perhaps. Its a start. If we all did this… well, wow!
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Thanks for listening.