I’m Not Black But I Stand With You


Creative Commons.

Protestor at the New York protest for the BLM movement.

Ella Olds

People say it was only one bad cop, but the children who saw Trayvon Martin’s murder go unpunished are adults now. 

Why is there such a disagreement on ending racism? I repeat this question but not enough. I used to question it when having peers of color and listening to their stories. But now this question is popping up on social media and on a cycle in my own head. Yes, racism is a very broad term but it is broad enough to cover what is going on in the United States today and what has been since the beginning.

Being able to choose to ignore the fact or acting like it doesn’t exist is a privilege minorities will never have. I will never be able to fully understand racism without experiencing it personally, but my privilege is that I never will. I want to use said privilege and my voice to show that I stand with the protestors, African Americans and the ones using their own resources to show their support throughout this change in history.

I’ve never liked stereotypes, grouping one person into said category where everybody is the same. Everybody is different and I don’t mean this in a happy go lucky way. Stereotypes are ruining this country. Not every black person is a criminal and not every single cop in America is a murderer despite what you see in the media for both sides. But the way the police force is handling these situations makes it worse. Police brutality is real and will happen in the places you would never think would take place. These protests are not happening because of one incident between an African American and a cop. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were the tips of this iceberg. Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Jeremy McDole and so many more unarmed African Americans who were killed during acts of police brutality are reasons for change. Their stories are just as important as the ones occurring recently. There’s a need for change and that time is now. 

The protests that are happening right now are happening because of the cops that have taken an innocent African American life. These cops claim they were afraid of their own safety because of something so simple yet complex: a skin tone. When in reality, unarmed African Americans fear cops who have the weapons because they know of the power they hold against them. When a police force is put in tact to protect us we shouldn’t have to play good cop, bad cop. There are no excuses for the “bad” cops that turn off their body cams and use that to their advantage. There are no excuses for the “bad” cops to group innocent African Americans into this stereotype where their own skin color is a weapon. 

I agree with the peaceful protests more than I do with the riots. Peaceful protests are a better platform for change. Peaceful protests consist of marches on a well known street, sitting and chanting in front of public forms, and creating signs to advocate our views. Together, we have a voice, some are larger than others and reach a higher platform but when working together we are advocates for change. We have the right to our first amendment, freedom of speech. We are not going to let the government take that from us or hide what is happening in the world. These problems need to be known. At this moment, I stand with protestors and the African Americans more than the cops. 

Even standing with the peaceful protests, I know they are not always effective. If you dont support the movement you’re not going to support the protests. When Colin Kapernick took a knee in 2016 to show his support to the African American community who was dealing with police brutality, that was a peaceful protest. But yet, people were still upset by the fact he was protesting at all. At the end of the day, the people who don’t stand behind the movements that people protest for are going to be upset if you are speaking out. When people don’t listen to the peaceful protests, they are going to do anything they can to be heard. 

The riots are not something I fully support but I support what the people are rioting for. We have peacefully protested for years with no change. A popular protestor sign is “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this.” When people are desperate for change and nobody is listening to their voices because of how they are looked at and perceived I don’t blame them for causing an uproar in our country. During the 1960’s where the civil rights movement was beginning, a famous riot broke out in the lgtbq+ community, the Stonewall Riots. This riot lead to change for the lgtbq+ community, which is proof that people aren’t causing riots for no reason, they seek change in the end. With the riots come looting, where many upset members of various communities have looted chain businesses, such as Kroger and Target during this time. Many are upset with the stores getting broken into but in the end, material things can be replaced and lives cannot. 

The cops that are killing innocent protestors are making the situation worse on their end. This is more bad blood on their hands. Many peaceful protests are being halted or broken up by cops using shields, weapons and tear gas to harm protestors. The weapon causing the most controversy in these protests are the rubber bullets cops are using to shoot at protestors and journalists covering the protests. If the protesters have arranged a peaceful protest with no harm, why do the cops get involved with harm? During the more intense protests cops have shot at protestors with “non-lethal” weapons. In Texas, there was an incident where three people got shot at while protesting George Floyds muder, one being pregnant and shot in the abdomen, and another shot in the head, yet all three causing severe injuries. Another weapon used by police forces is tear gas. Tear gas has been banned during warfare, yet police still have access to it. In sense it has similarities to mace that causes severe skin irritation and eye pain. When people are trying to use their freedom of speech to speak out against injustice in their own country and they get attacked by the force that is supposed to be protecting them while doing that, that is a fault in the system. If you don’t see a fault or any problems in these situations, you are a part of the problem. 

In a larger sense than the protests, many companies are hearing these shouts for help and most are doing an amazing job at helping the cause using their platforms. Apple Music has dedicated their entire radio system to black artists, to share the positive influence African Americans had on the music industry, using the hashtag “The Show Must Be Paused” to  speak out against acts of racism. Netflix has taken their platform to show that silence is complicit. They stated on May 30, via Twitter that they “have a duty to their black members, employees, creators, and talent to speak up.” Youtube, according to their tweet on May 29, is donating one million dollars “in support of efforts to address social injustice.” I am more than grateful that these companies are doing good with what they can in support for this community, even with the backlash others want to give. They realize that in this time, their support is more important than paying customers. Some major celebrities that are using their platform for change are The Weekend who donated 500 thousand dollars to organizations fighting for Justice for George Floyd and Chrissy Teigen who donated 200 thousand dollars to bail funds for protestors. 

On a smaller note, many people have taken this time to use their social media as a platform, which is wonderful to gain attention to the issue. When posting only a black screen for “Black Out Tuesday,” I see that you are supporting the cause but I don’t see anything past that. I applaud the people behind the screen that are protesting, donating and signing petitions. I hope everybody who makes a post isn’t just doing it for a ‘trend’ and can show their support in other ways that directly affect the victims and the protestors. Only posting a black screen once will not help with the larger picture, if you seek change like everyone else you will continue to help and support when the issue isn’t ‘trending’ at the moment.  

Many may only know what they see in the media or on social media, but please don’t believe everything you see. When you form your own opinions you have to educate yourself thoroughly, and I’m not saying I’m the most educated person on this topic, but I do have enough knowledge to form my own opinions and so can you. When wanting to expand your knowledge and educate yourself, I suggest using an unbiased news source/media outlet. Some examples are: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Associated Press and BBC. These news sources may have opinion pieces that are more right or left leaning but that doesn’t demean their ethics where they rely on facts. It is just as important to do your own research and I cannot stress this one enough: quit going off of what the people around you say. More than likely you are going to surround yourself with likeminded people and their opinions are not going to change. Grow your mind and expand yourself, make your own opinion. You are entitled to use your own brain, that’s why it’s yours. 

My words may not do much but hopefully they can inspire you to support. I dream of the day where I can proudly say that America is the land of the free and everybody has equal rights and respect here. If you have the time and bravery, join the movements. Use your voice and peacefully protest. If that is not the case but you still stand with us there are numerous ways that you can donate to the victims and the peaceful protests. 

Here are some links: 

If you don’t have anything to give, your signature is worth just the same or more. Here are some petitions you can sign for change: