By Maisie Cocker, editor in chief
It’s hard to understand where to start when the racism and oppression against people of color in America is systemic and has always existed within the foundations of the country. I think for right now it’s important to begin with acknowledging all the black lives that have been so inhumanely taken. May they rest in power.
Veritas is a platform that I have been privileged enough to use to share many of my political opinions to. However, this is not a matter of politics. This is an issue concerning an entire race of human beings that have faced endless oppression based purely on the appearance of their skin. Nothing going on right now is a matter of opinion or political preference. The public murder, and technical lynching, of George Floyd is one of many prime examples of that.
The mere fact that American police officers around the country have felt comfortable enough to kill black people within the public eye screams that they are aware they are part of a white supremacist state. There is no denial of the inherent racism that the system they have willingly entered thrives from. Right now is absolutely the wrong time to discuss “good cops.” Good cops can prove themselves at this time by joining the fight to end the corruption within the field that they’ve willingly entered. There is no need for the glorification of doing your job in a way abiding by equality and justice. You don’t get brownie points for being a decent citizen. To try and make that a central issue at this moment in time is finding room for excuses and exceptions.
Black people have waited and protested and spoken for far too long and they remain unheard. The rioting and looting is a product of this. Those who are more upset about looting than murder are lacking a general understanding that is required to be actively anti-racist. We are living in a country based on looting and stealing. The stealing of land. Resources. Labor. Lives. Looting from mega-corporations does not harm them. They will be able to recover. This exposes the fact that giant companies can afford to pay their workers more without crumbling. Their workers can be paid a living wage. Looting is not a random act of destruction. It is a very much purposeful statement. The only victims of looting are the billionaires who were initially stealing from the people themselves. In most recent cases, laying their “valued” employees off during a pandemic when they could easily have given paid leave. Billionaires got $434 billion dollars richer during this pandemic. That is an amount of money that cannot be physically visualized in your head. The reason civilians speak against the looting is at its core selfish fear. You will be okay. Just don’t go to target in the middle of a revolution unless you’re there ready to protest. Looting is not violence. Threatening to shoot, tear gassing, rubber bullets, real bullets, and clubs are.
Violent racism courses through America and bleeds out through innocent people of color. It is in the first ship full of people from Africa that ported in Virginia and were immediately sold to colonists as slaves in 1619. It is in the current president, who is endorsed by the KKK and refers to black people as “thugs.” It is in those who throw around racially charged slurs or claim to have “the N-word pass.” I cannot fathom a reason why that is an actual phrase I hear repeated throughout the halls of a high school in 2020. Even in the most privileged of white neighborhoods, everyone has witnessed or been confronted with the issue. It is prominent and impossible to ignore.
If you’ve read this far you at least have a general understanding of the issue at hand (even though I’m sure that was pre-existing.) It is now, but also always has been, your obligation to become a part of the solution. It will never again be a choice to remain neutral because silence is choosing the side of the oppressor. I’ve tried to compile the simplest ways that anyone and everyone can be actively doing to do their part. The first piece is educating yourself. The education system has provided free basic history education to all citizens. Use it. If you feel that history class has failed you, there is no excuse for ignorance with the plethora of resources on google at your fingertips. Try the website blacklivesmatter.carrd.co for a guide to taking immediate action. Uprooting the problem from its core is the key to finding equality that is more than temporary. Try the New York Times 1619 Project for a start. Once there is a foundation for discussion do not back down from those conversations. Preach until this is truly and wholly settled. Anyone who finds your consistency “annoying” is part of the problem. Let them cover their ears. When historians write about this they will be the villains.
Another crucial piece is listening to the people of color around you. Truly listen and don’t be defensive. Be an open platform for their voices. Spread their truth. If you’re white you have never experienced oppression based on that part of your identity and any personal inconveniences are irrelevant to the subject as a whole.
Beyond living everyday life in a state of awareness and anti-racism, there are political actions to be taken. Donate to Black Lives Matter if you can afford to do so. Call into the hotlines. Vote in people you are confident will fight with you and try not to settle for any less. Sign any valid petition you encounter because I assure you it will only take a single minute to do so.
Among all these, the most vital role is standing with everyone who is currently risking their livelihoods. That is the essential proof that you believe your own life is equally important to a person of color. Learn their words and sing them through the streets when you show up to the protests. Protests turn to riots when the screaming and preaching isn’t enough. Be ready to join. It is uncomfortable and frightening at times, but remember that fear is nothing compared to what a black person feels every day in a nation pitted against them. It has been proved in countless historical events that abuse of power does not stop without radical action.
This is such a microscopic amount of information compared to the entirety of racial inequality issues across history. However, I hope to encourage action among readers. We are the future. We need to fight for a future where everyone can get a fair chance. Revolution is dawning, and it’s success rides upon every single one of us. You’ve been given a voice, use it. Stand together. Be brave. Be radical.