A few days ago, I was talking to my friend about the protests going on and the issues of racism and inequality that is plaguing our society. She decided to go all black on her Instagram in solidarity with the #blacklivesmatter movement.
I didn’t feel comfortable doing that because it would feel more peer-pressured as opposed to being wholeheartedly committed. However, my friend told me that “As long as you know where you stand. That’s all that really matters. Plus, you wrote about it on your biggest platform: your blog. That says something.” And she’s right about that. The only way I can be an effective promoter of change in our fight against police brutality and racism is if I continue to write and teach others. I believe that to change people’s mindsets it is through writing and learning. The shifting of perspectives can only be done through education but people have to be willing to change.
We are quick to jump on obvious situations that show racism or inequality but we are sometimes blind to some of the subtle actions that promote it. For example, here is a subtle incident that demonstrates how people in power can misuse their authority.
How does this show an abuse of power? Well, it’s the fact that the purpose of an emergency alert system on phones is to alert the public about any important news that affects their safety and you would assume that such news is delivered as soon as possible. Well, this didn’t happen. In regards to the protests, my emergency alarm should go off prior to curfew time so that it gives people enough time to go home. It didn’t happen at 4pm. It happened at 7:44 PM which isn’t enough time for everyone to go back home especially when the buses aren’t running at full capacity. The way I see it is by sending the warning later, you are intentionally trying to get people to break the law and get arrested because you know that 16 minutes isn’t enough time to get back home especially when you live in a densely populated city. That isn’t playing fair.
I also would like to add that not everyone has smartphones. There is this assumption that everyone has access to the internet and smartphones to get all the latest news and updates, but that isn’t true. Some people are too broke to afford fancy phones and if they are out there protesting for their rights and didn’t know about the curfew, it’s their fault for not receiving the memo. But is it really their fault that they are stuck in an endless cycle of poverty? No. No one chooses to be poor and if they are poor, it is usually due to systematic oppression. In this example, we can see how just one subtle action shows the hierarchy of power where the oppressors continue to be in power and oppress the poor and powerless. No one should be above the law.
This is just one example of what subtle systematic oppression looks like. You may not think it is a big deal, but there’s so much oppressive weight in that one text that it shouldn’t go unnoticed. We care enough when we see the bigger issues being displayed on social media and on TV, but we forget the little acts of social injustice. In order for true change to really happen, we have to think about what we can do internally. Whether it is our perspectives or habits, change can only happen if we are willing to do it and it comes within yourself first.
With hands held high
Into a sky so blue
As the ocean opens up
To swallow you
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