What's There To Debate?

These past few months we have faced a lot of controversy in our country. What’s the best way to handle the pandemic? Should we all wear masks? How long should we have to quarantine? Is it safe to return to work? Red or blue??

Controversy is defined as, “a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of conflicting opinion or point of view.” 

I think the key word in the definition is opinion. Controversy is ignited when people have different opinions. Between politics and COVID-19 there are plenty of opinions to go around. If you don’t believe me, just scroll through your Facebook Timeline, I’m sure you will find an array of different opinions or you can just switch back and forth between Fox and CNN. At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and not everyone’s opinions are going to overlap but what I can’t fathom is how there can be controversy when discussing the movement, Black Lives Matter.  

To me, this is NOT controversial. Black Lives Matter. This is a fact, it’s not an opinion and it’s a movement.

Black Lives Matter- is an international human rights movement, originating from within the African-American community, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people.

What could be controversial about a movement asking for equality in all men and women regardless of their skin color!? But.. but.. but.. ALL Lives Matter. Of course, all lives matter.. but if this is your argument, you are completely missing the point. The movement isn’t, “Black Lives Matter **And to hell with everyone else.**” When someone is wearing a breast cancer awareness shirt do you stop and think but ALL cancer matters??? No. The person wearing that shirt has probably been personally affected by breast cancer or has fought the battle with a friend or loved one. This movement is NO different. The Black Lives Matter movement is to bring awareness to systematic racism and police brutality that the African American community deals with on a daily basis in the United States. 

Recently, a video circulated the internet showing the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. This sparked protests across America and the world. And why? Because enough people were able to see the horrific act of a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he was no longer breathing. This video was the tipping point that provoked the protest but it’s important to understand (and learn) that the protests represent SO much more. This has been years and years and YEARS of build up for the African American community and all the racial inequalities they have had to face in our country.

I am a white female that grew up in a town of 4000 people in the north parts of Wisconsin. No, I truly don’t know what it’s like to have to personally deal with racism nor did I grow up with many friends that dealt with racism but I don’t believe that excludes me from the conversation. I’m the person that should be having the hard conversations with my family and community. These past few months of incidents that have transpired have opened my eyes to all the institutional racism that is still happening today! Because of that, I’m trying to read more and educate myself on the history and issues within our country. 

However, I understand that having my eyes opened is nothing compared to experiencing it. Every. Single. Day. I have no intentions of pretending I know what it’s like to be an African American in the US because I don’t have the slightest clue what those challenges feel like. I have never once been afraid for my life when being pulled over by the police and when I go for a run, my biggest concern is what way the wind is blowing that day. That is the definition of white privilege. I’m not writing to pretend I know what it’s like because I know I don’t and I never will. I’m writing because the problem is too many of us just shrug our shoulders because it’s not directly affecting us. I read something online that hit me hard and inspired me to speak out, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” I am the unaffected and as the unaffected, we need to demand change. 

If you read this and believed it was indeed controversial, I’m unapologetic. I think we need more people talking about the issues instead of ignoring them. Educate yourself. Personally, I support the movement but I am nowhere near as informed as I wish to be. Use your voice and make a change. Racism isn’t going to just one day disappear, we need to demand a change. I don’t know how we do that but today my change is writing about it, acknowledging it and putting my support out there for the people that need it. I hope you can join the movement. Black Lives Matter ❤


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