Minnesota “nice” can be detrimental
It’s no doubt that this past year of social unrest has been a highly intense time for the BIPOC community. Minnesota has been a spotlight within the media due to the murder of George Floyd and the GUILTY verdict given to Derek Chauvin. This is not justice; this is accountability. Yes, you should revel in this small victory, but the battle in front of you has a long way to go. The work continues with making change through courage.
It is time to do more than “listening”. It is time to do more than just being nice to each other.
Accountability wouldn’t have been the outcome if it weren’t for the young teen, Darnella Frazier, who recorded Floyd’s unjust murder. This act of courage isn’t easy; Darnella deserves healing and peace. She was just a 17-year-old kid that chose courage that day, in which it made all the difference. This is believed to be the second time in Minnesota where a police was convicted of an on-duty killing. Black and Brown people have always been disproportionately targeted within this country. Think about how many stories like this weren’t filmed.
Choose to make change through courage everyday. Now this doesn’t mean you have to witness a murder and record it. Being courageous is doing more than just listening. Pick up a book and do some research. Search the web for legit sources to learn about history, communities, people’s stories, why our institutions and society are set in stone the way they are today, etc. Use the resources at your hands! Educate yourself, and in doing so, make it a point to unlearn some things you’ve been taught all your life. There is always more learning to do for everyone, as there is unlearning to do.
“Unlearning” is an important factor when you’re in the “learning process”. Think about this in terms of unlearning old perceptions/biases that you grew up inheriting whether it was consciously or unconsciously. It’s holding yourself accountable when you are learning, you have to check yourself and unlearn the things that wouldn’t make sense to keep, as it does not pair with the new information. It’s not really “learning” if you’re still doing things and holding beliefs that contradict what you now know.
So you say that you’re not racist and that you “support” the movement. This must be backed up by taking action. If you don’t speak up when your friend makes a racist comment, you’re a bystander, and you’ve got some work to do. Silence is perpetuation. Courage for change is speaking up.
Having BlPOC people as friends isn’t enough. Having a partner or child that identifies as BIPOC also requires putting in the work to educate yourself on how to forward change and apply it to your lifestyle. Instead of buying Black ONLY during Black History Month you can instead Buy Black throughout the year. Companies and corporations often make statements about standing with “Black Lives Matter” but do they actually incorporate BIPOC employees, if they have any? Is their room for their voices in meetings, or their ideas and perspectives in projects or products that roll out? Are open positions posted with requirements that eliminate BIPOC people from the interview process ($EDUCATION GAP$) even if they have the skills? This does not support these communities or honor their value. Please don’t feel pity for BIPOC people. Instead uplift, celebrate, LOVE, and SEE everyone as humans. Here are 14 Anti-Racism Educators & Activists to Follow and Support Online.
If you are thinking “wow, this is a lot” or “this sounds tiring” imagine how exhausted the BIPOC people are. The “Minnesota Nice” act doesn’t cut it. Take courage in learning, unlearning, relearning and using your voice to speak out – consistently. Take courage in supporting BIPOC communities in however THEY need it. Ask them what they need.
There is still no accountability for Breonna Taylor’s murderers, and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was murdered in Columbus, Ohio last Tuesday. This fight is NOT done.
PROTECT BIPOC women.
LOVE BIPOC women.
SUPPORT BIPOC women.