Dear non-Black people of color, #BlackLivesMatter is your fight too

What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Do to Support From Home

Rally+in+Grand+Army+Plaza+after+the+death+of+George+Floyd%0A

Ryan McGrady

Rally in Grand Army Plaza after the death of George Floyd

By Gwen Langi, Opinion Editor

You share tag 10 friends to your Instagram story, urging them to continue the chain in support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. You retweet content on Twitter that includes the “#BlackLivesMatter” hashtag. In doing these you feel you’ve done all that you can to stand up to the injustices against the Black community. 

You’re wrong. 

As with any news story, misinformation and half-truths are spread like wildfire but one thing we’re certain about is George Floyd, an innocent Black man, was brutally murdered by a White police officer named Derek Chauvin. With Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds–with an additional two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd had become unresponsive–all while Floyd repeated the words “I can’t breathe.” 

The recent outbreak of riots to hold Floyd’s murderers accountable–starting in Minnesota and recently reaching Los Angeles–began as non-violent protests but took a turn for the worst when police officers began using non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets, teargas and batons. 

We falsely believe that because it isn’t someone we know or someone we’d be able to identify with it isn’t part of our reality. We mistakenly associate police brutality with mistreatment to strictly the Black community only. 

As non-Black people of color, we have a privilege that we fail to recognize. Limiting our ability to be an active voice against social injustice to a single post or use of a hashtag is the biggest form of ignorance because we can and should do much more than this. 

Protestors and journalists are having their First Amendment violated by being arrested without reason. Luckily, dozens of bail funds are accepting donations for their bail. You can join the fight from afar by making donations to bail protestors in your location. To find a bail fund that’s aiding protestors in your city, click here

By texting “FLOYD” to 55156 you will be sent a link that redirects you to a petition to fill out. This petition is written to the Mayor and Court Attorney of Minneapolis demanding to charge the four policemen who were present at the time of the incident with murder, revoke their right to pension and ensure that they are unable to work for the police department any longer. 

Social media possesses the power to provoke a reaction from millions just by having them look at their screen. With our use of and access to social media every day, we have no excuse to not be taking advantage of this power. It’s not about how much coverage you choose to do on what’s occurring, it’s how you’re choosing to go about it and the quality. Content regarding ways to stay safe as a protestor, what to do when hurt and ways to join the fight besides protesting are types of information that are effective and helpful. Sharing factual information and avoiding click-baits or biased news sites are also urgent in spreading awareness using the internet. Fact-checking the media you consume or share has a large effect on how you and your audience form opinions. Properly educate yourself and others by avoiding fake news and half-truths. 

Black Lives Matter isn’t a fight for George Floyd alone but for all the Black lives lost at the hands of law enforcement. This means that this fight for change will not end when the protests do. We must continue to fight an unjust system and protect the Black community publicly and that includes checking our behavior. 

Normalized anti-Black behavior contributes to the harm towards the Black community and defeats the purpose of standing in solidarity. 

One way non-Black people of color have demonstrated anti-Blackness is through their silence. 

Your silence speaks volumes in situations like these and you cannot be “neutral.” Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by an officer who continued to restrain Floyd after he became unresponsive. This is cold-blooded murder and when you try to justify what was done to Floyd and the thousands of Black lives lost to police brutality, you are contributing to the problem. If you can see the current events plastered on social media and covered by nearly every news outlet but aren’t outraged, you are contributing to the problem. If you have Black friends, family members or support Black celebrities and you choose to be silent, you are contributing to the problem. As non-Black people of color, we have a privilege that can be used to speak up for our community members. Using your voice in times like these and taking the opportunity to educate yourself and others is how we can start destructing the anti-Blackness that we perpetuate within our community. 

The counterargument that equality was achieved when slavery was abolished is not valid and is no longer acceptable. If the policemen are charged appropriately, the fight is still not over. Black Lives Matter will not rest until it is shown that Black lives are being prioritized. Why are unarmed Black men murdered after complying with orders while White criminals like Brock Turner are only convicted when the public applies pressure? Why did it take protests and violent outbursts for Floyd’s murderers to be arrested and charged? It is not enough to say Black Lives Matter when the actions aren’t shown for it. 

Non-Black people of color: This is your fight too.