Letter to the Editor: Why I Have Been Quiet About George Floyd and BLM

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I have no words. 

What can you say when a man was unjustly killed?

We all know it’s because he was Black.

The anger is not limited to the Black community

The anger has roared from the states to Europe.

For once the world is standing together,

at the cost of another Black man’s life.

I have been quiet, but I have been watching.

Would his scream have been so loud if we weren’t bored from a two-month quarantine?

I have been watching people fight for people’s right to live by killing others. 

I have been watching band-wagon supporters spill emotional outbursts for likes and attention. 

I have been watching people who have never spoken a word of police brutality or Black lives all of a sudden become experts. 

I am thrilled that Black lives finally matter, but I am sickened that it had to take boredom and death for it to be acknowledged.

Why have I been quiet? This isn’t the 90s. Children are not playing outside, they are growing up on the Internet. 

We are building a future generation that will be desensitized to violence and crime. 

We are the generation that we were getting upset with for ruining the world; that’s us. 

WE ARE NOT PROTECTING HUMANS, CHILDREN, AND EXISTENCE, WE ARE PROTECTING OUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, LIKES AND FOLLOWERS AT THE COST OF BLACK LIVES!

I am tired of the White person who posts, “If you are quiet, you are part of the problem,” when they just found their voice yesterday on a centuries old topic.

I am tired of the White person who posts, “If you don’t agree, you are wrong,” who just woke up yesterday.

I am tired of people thinking they have a right to down talk others now that they’re up, YOU are part of the problem. 

I am tired of people thinking they have the right to decide how long it takes for others to process what’s happening, to heal, to make sense of everything. 

I am tired.

I am tired of people chanting “PEACEFUL PROTESTS!” as if this was something that just happened yesterday and hasn’t been happening for hundreds of years. 

I am tired of seeing someone post, “BLACK LIVES MATTER” followed by wishes of death to the leader.

Be as angry with a man as you’d like, but if one man’s life matters more than that of another, YOU are part of the problem. 

I am tired of media parrots mimicking everything they see and hear

I am tired of people chanting “STAY AT HOME! STAY AT HOME!” hypocritically followed by “VIOLENT PROTESTS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” 

This is how I know we’re dealing with parrots and not hearts. 

I am tired of senseless emotional outbursts from privileged people who manage to take the spotlight, even when it’s not about them. 

I. AM. TIRED!

I AM TIRED OF LOOTERS FRAMING BLACK PEOPLE FOR VIOLENCE AND CRIME, KICKING THEM WHEN THEY’RE DOWN.

I AM REPULSED KNOWING I HAVE TO SHARE A PLANET WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN DO THIS WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF GUILT.

I AM TIRED OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN BLACK SKIN AND WHITE SKIN, SOMETHING NO ONE CAN EVEN CONTROL. 

I WILL BE THE CHANGE I WISH TO SEE.

I WILL LIVE IN A WORLD THAT I CREATE FOR MYSELF WHERE A BLACK LIFE IS EQUAL TO A WHITE LIFE, IF NOT WORTH MORE FOR ENDURING CENTURIES OF RIDICULE AND DEGRADATION AND CONTINUING WITH POISE AND LOVE! 

WHEN I THINK OF BLACK PEOPLE, I HEAR MUSIC THAT I SING ALONG TO ON MY CAR RIDES EVERYWHERE; I THINK OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE EVERY DAY, UNBOTHERED EVEN THOUGH THEIR RACE IS BEING SLOWLY AND PROGRESSIVELY EXTERMINATED; I THINK OF THE WOMEN WHO WORKED FOR NASA AND HAVE CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO SCIENCE EVEN THOUGH THE OFFICE THEY WORKED IN HAD A SEPARATE RESTROOM FOR THEM; I THINK OF THE FREE-HUGS-MAN WHO ALWAYS SHOWS UP MAGICALLY WHERE PEOPLE NEED HUGS; I THINK OF A MOM HUGGING ME, CALLING ME “CHILD” WITH A BOOB SQUISHING MY FACE; I THINK OF THOSE WOMEN WHO WEAR THOSE BEAUTIFULLY-PATTERNED DRESSES WITH THEIR HAIRS WRAPPED AND COLORFUL EARRINGS. I ASSOCIATE BLACK WITH JOY, HAPPINESS, STRENGTH, AND PEACE!

I HAVE BEEN QUIET BECAUSE I WILL NOT CONTRIBUTE TO THE NOISE THAT IS DEVALUING THIS MAN’S LIFE AND EVERYTHING HE STOOD FOR. 

I WILL NOT SENSELESSLY SHOUT FOR CHANGE;

I WILL BE THE CHANGE.

HIS NAME WAS GEORGE FLOYD. 

HE WAS BLACK.

HIS LIFE MATTERED. 

Melissa Stepanian is a third year philosophy major at UC Santa Barbara.

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