Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Hearing and Really Listening. Ending injustice means listening to all people.

Yesterday was Black Out Tuesday, a day to listen to the voices of the Black Lives Matter protest, to hear and share what they were saying. Voices on twitter said this isn’t the day to push your brand. We don’t want to hear anything about what you have to sell today. Voices on twitter said all you’ll white people this isn’t your day to talk. We don’t want to hear from you. You should be sharing black voices today.

I watched as the Black Lives Matter twitter feed filled with empty black tiles. Voices on twitter said all you’ll Black Out Tuesday people are killing the movement, especially all you’ll white people. We don’t want to hear anything from you today. Use the hash tag #BlackOutTuesday, not #BlackLivesMatter.

One of the most powerful black voices I heard, listened to and shared about on Blackout Tuesday was that of Ben O’Keefe, former senior aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. His twitter feed when I looked at it had a post about a book pinned to it, so I guess he didn't get the memo about not promoting products, but his words in Emily Stewart's article in Vox on "How to be a good white ally, according to activists" really resonated with me and probably with a lot of people.

I didn’t agree with everything Ben said. I’ve done nothing but watch and try to be a part of the movement. The looters and rioters making a mess of things weren’t all white people. They were all people. Countless times it was all people, not just white people, and of course who it was depended largely on geography, where people were, and which city we were talking about.

The thing Ben said that resonated the most is this: “[Take a deep breath and get] past the shame and the guilt that you’re carrying, because white people who are alive today did not create racism. They didn’t choose to live in a white supremacist country, and they didn’t choose to exist in the world that we do today. But what they can do is choose to admit that they benefit from racism and acknowledge that they have the power to change the conditions, and that’s crucial, because this isn’t a blame game.”

Odd though, this blame game. I watched on instagram as Seth Rogen had a meltdown, telling All Lives Matter people to get the f*ck out of his feed and stop following him. I watched All Lives Matter people tell Seth Rogen to f*ck off. Maybe Seth had read Billie Eilish’s rant a few days before in Rolling Stone about All Lives Matter. I don’t know.

A few days before Seth had said in a tweet on twitter, “Always be more critical of the people upholding the racist system than the ones who are fighting against it.” Over 500,000 liked the tweet while over 100,000 were talking about it. I guess Seth didn’t take to heart his own memo.

Mashable’s article praising Seth Rogen says All Lives Matter is meant to belittle discussion of racial injustice and provides a link to an article that explains nine different ways why people should stop saying it. But in talking to All Lives Matter people they say that isn’t what their movement is about at all. They say some people just aren’t listening. Funny, those who support Black Lives Matter say the same thing.

The same Emily Stewart article in Vox that I discussed earlier had rules for white people. If you white people want to participate in Black Lives Matter do this, don’t do that. “A white person’s job at a protest isn’t to spray paint 'Black Lives Matter' on a building. It’s not to destroy stuff. It’s not to loot stores.” Back to the blame game. We humans are good at the blame game. It’s one of the reasons nothing can ever be solved or resolved.

Sunni hates Shiite and vice versa in large part because their ideologies don’t align 100%, and even though they believe in the same God they’ve been killing each other since there were Sunni and Shiite. With Muslims and Christians, it’s more of the same, though their Gods are different. Shouldn’t it be enough that Sunni, Shiite, Muslim and Christian all believe in a God? Doesn’t the Bible say to turn the other cheek and what not? Doesn’t the Quran say much the same?

We’ve learned nothing in thousands of years. Divisions. Rules. Putting up fences around things. One thing cannot be another, unless and until it is my thing. The issues though are police brutality, injustice, discrimination, inequality, poverty and racism. Why exactly does our reasons for wanting these things to end have to be 100% one way or another? Unless and until?

The most powerful black voice I heard, listened to and shared about on Blackout Tuesday was that of Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On ABC’s Good Morning America, she said, “Black lives matter. All lives matter.”

Another powerful black voice I heard, listened to and shared about on Blackout Tuesday was that of a black, activist protester that I heard on NBC Nightly News. He said, “Listen up America. This isn’t about black or white any more. This is about justice in America.”

Thanks for reading, I’m William Robert Stanek, Microsoft’s #1 author for nearly 20 years, and author of over 250 topselling books.

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