If you’re going to call yourself my friend, I need to know that you have my back. I neither want nor need cowards in my corner.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of the black men who were (in my opinion) unjustly killed by police officers. They were Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I found out about Alton Sterling on Tuesday between jobs, and I watched the video of his death, as well as his son breaking down during a press conference. Nothing felt real. It took a moment to realize that I was crying. I found out about Philando Castile early the next morning, and I also watched the video that his girlfriend took on Facebook Live. At this point, I was numb. I was also angry. But mostly, I was drained and tired, and this feeling would continue on the entirety of the week. To be honest, I’m still numb, angry, drained, and tired, but also full of sorrow and despair. I’m feeling all these emotions at once.
I’ve had a terrible week, as I’m sure a lot of black people have.
“The very best” of America killing my people is nothing new, but it’s always going to be a shock. My Facebook Newsfeed has been full of my fellow black friends and acquaintances showing our shared anger and sorrow. What my Newsfeed is lacking, however, is the support from the vast majority of my non-black friends and acquaintances.
See, here’s the thing: I’ve seen a few non-black people post extra long statuses about how we must unite, that they support the Black Lives Matter movement, and that all of this is horrible. I’ve seen a few, but not nearly enough. Especially not from those who consider themselves my friends. I was disappointed in them. Now, I’m just pissed off.
It ferociously upset me that these people consider themselves my friends and acquaintances yet are silent. I’ve made it very clear, as I’m sure have other black friends, that this is a subject that is close to my heart, so: where are you, so-called friends? Where is your outrage and support? Where is your voice? Where is your friendship?
You are not an ally if you stay quiet where no one can see you. You are a coward at that point, and I don’t respect cowards.
I’m not saying that posting something to Facebook is the end all and be all of a situation, but it’s an observation that I’ve been making, and it’s made me feel some type of way. Our generation uses Facebook to get our points across and show our support for movements. It’s the most vocal way we can engage in social justice with one another and be allies even when we can’t be there in person to have a face-to-face interaction. So, when I see your lack of supportive posts on Facebook about the slaughtering of black people by police, I notice your absence. I will always notice the absence of support from those who call themselves my friends. Especially on a matter like this because I know for a fact that with any other issue, you’d take right to Facebook and speak your mind. Suddenly, when it comes to black issues, your silence is deafening.
Your silence reveals your cowardice.
I don’t have time for “friends” who are going to be silent on the matter of police brutality against black bodies because, to me, if you’re silent on matters of oppression, you are not my ally and cannot call yourself an ally to the cause. You silence is confirmation that you are a passive ally to those who fuel the oppression.
You are just a double agent working for the oppressor, and I can’t trust you.
Silence on matters of injustice allow the injustice to be perpetuated, and it is at that moment that I know that you have chosen the side of the oppressor, whether you realized it or not. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
So, yes, in this case, your silence is consent for atrocities to keep happening against black bodies.
Your silence tells me that my life is not worth even a measly Facebook post where you show your support to a movement that fights for my right to live.
Your silence speaks to the fact that you do not care about me because you do not care about the black lives that have been lost at the hands of police brutality.
Your silence reveals your cowardice.
Your silence reveals the fact that you might not actually agree with the Black Lives Matter movement, and in that case, I really encourage you to exit my life because there is no place for you in it.
It sounds harsh, but this is the truth. I need to surround myself with friends who are going to support me and my right to live. I need friends who are not going to be silent on these matters. I need friends I can trust, and being silent in times like these makes you untrustworthy.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. also once said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And trust me, these moments and your absence and your silence have been seared into my memory.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.