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You’re Sickened? Great. Now What?

This has been happening for far too long for people to think that one comment alone is going to help anything.

08/12/2017 20:58 EDT | Updated 08/13/2017 13:49 EDT
Ryan M. Kelly

On Friday night, hundreds of terrorists ― white men, for those of you who think “terrorism” applies solely to Muslims ― marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia with tiki torches and chants declaring that their lives mattered, that they weren’t going to take “it” anymore and that they were taking their country back. From whom? I’m not sure, but okay.

What happened in Charlottesville isn’t shocking to me, though. Unfortunately, it IS shocking to 50 percent of my friends who aren’t black and 99 percent of everyone else’s friends who’ve all commented, “I’m shocked,” or “This is disgusting,” or my personal favorite, “I’m sickened.”

Okay, so? What are you doing with that shock and disgust and sickened feeling? Are you doing your part by posting that then turning away from the news because it’s “just too much”? I even had the displeasure of stumbling upon a photographer’s page where he posted the photo of the victims being flung in the air and someone had the nerve to comment, “That’s a great shot, though?” I’m sorry, did you remove your humanity for the sake of art? When I asked if that was her only comment on the matter, I was quickly checked saying that there are many photographers on the page so a comment solely about the photo and not the subject is normal. Is it?

As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I came upon a video of a car mowing down peaceful protestors. Now, there have recently been laws passed that allow civilians to drive their vehicles through protests, ultimately making this legal. Everything happened so fast. I gasped and was enraged. Minutes later, I saw an actual photo of the attack. I wept. Seeing it in video and seeing it in a photo are two different things. There are shoes on the ground, a black man and white man tossed into the air. It’s chaos. Complete terror. I then saw a video of one of the women who was hit by the terrorist during the peaceful protest, and I lost it. You could see the reality of what just happened was over her as she began to scream. It wasn’t a scream to exhale and release. She was terrified.

As a side note: This type of terror is not uncommon to people of color. It may not look exactly like a car plowing into peaceful protestors. It might look like a police officer holding children walking home from playing basketball at gunpoint. It might look like a 12-year-old boy murdered in a park by a paid public servant. It might look like a man stalking a young boy, murdering him and not being convicted of said murder.

My point is this: This has been happening for far too long for people to think that one comment alone is going to help anything. Start having those uncomfortable conversations with your family members. Who cares if Thanksgiving is going to be ruined! I mean, do you really want to eat turkey with a racist hate-monger? I know I don’t! Start openly declaring that Black Lives Matter! If saying that Black Lives Matter means that you lose some friends, were they really friends in the first place? Start evaluating and challenging your family members, your friends, the people you pray with. Are you guys praying for the same things? Does justice look the same to the people you spend your time with? Sacrifice your comfort for justice. If you employ ANY of these terrorists, will they have a job come Monday morning? You’re sickened? Great, I’m Rage. Nice to meet you. Let’s get to work.

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