I’ve never talked about race issues on social media before. I’ve had conversations with friends, listened to people of color talk about their experiences, and liked other’s posts on Instagram surrounding race issues. But why have I never voiced my own opinion on matters related to race?
I think it’s because on social media, I fear being the girl who takes activism to an extreme. I’ve had this delusional rule in my head saying “you’ve already chosen to speak out about body image! You can only pick one! Other people can take the reins on race”.
Why is this the case?
Because I am white.
Because race issues don’t affect me personally.
Because I didn’t think that I was equipped and educated enough to talk about race issues eloquently and effectively.
I know a lot about body image. It’s a topic (and struggle) I’ve dealt with personally, unlike race issues. I’ve spent years of my life dedicated to it. (You would be surprised how many curriculum hours go into body image as a food and nutrition student).
After the horrendous murder of George Floyd, I decided that my excuses as to why I wasn’t “equipped” enough to talk about race issues were due to the fact that I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. Trying to live life as a neutral party has made me develop many color-blind tendencies, even though these are not my core beliefs.
People of color do not have this privilege. Whether a person of color is on a run, going to the bank, picking up groceries, or even sitting in their own home, their presence is still making some small-minded person somewhere feel uncomfortable.
And it doesn’t even end there. I’m not going to pretend to understand the depths of a man’s racism. However, I do believe that the police officer who killed George Floyd’s racism was rooted in the fact that a black man’s presence made him uncomfortable.
I wish it wouldn’t have taken me this long. My fear of making others uncomfortable when talking about racial injustice is so miniscule when compared to a man’s life. So I’m going to begin talking about racial injustice until change is made.
I’m not asking for a gold star, and I know I’m definitely not “brave” typing this. I’m just making a promise. To my black friends, I want you to know I stand by you. I will continue to make others uncomfortable if that’s what it takes for you to walk down the street safely.
Text “FLOYD” to 55-156.