Opinion: An open letter to my “Friends” who don’t think #BlackLivesMatter
Edmonton, AB – Taking a break from social media over this past weekend was the best thing I could have done for myself. It gave me time to reflect on last week’s tragic events. It made me think of my love/hate relationship with Facebook and the realization that only a small percentage of like-minded allies are on my “friends list” (694 and deleting). It gave time to re-evaluate who I need to surround myself with moving forward. Much needed change is about to come.
There’s a global obsession with hip-hop and black culture. Our music, our dancing, the way we dress, our slang, our hair etc. Yet it’s “interesting” how quickly that obsession disappears when WE need you the most. When we need you to stand up, your backs are against the wall.
I adore my friends, always will. But being a product of a white privileged town, it’s hip-hop that saved me. It’s hip-hop that let me know that it’s OK to be different, in fact, it’s better that way. This CULTURE saved me. It’s made me the person I am today and I refuse to stay silent when our brothers and sisters are being brutalized and murdered by the same people who are supposed to protect them. Canada, U.S., wherever. We’re all connected.
What’s happened in the last week should be nothing short of a state of emergency, yet 80% of my news feed is treating it like it’s another beautiful day in July. The events in Dallas were horrific, just as horrific as what happened to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile two days prior, yet 80% of my “friends list” (local media included) failed to acknowledge the latter. This concerns me. This silence concerns me.
When we say “Black Lives Matter,” we aren’t implying that “All Life” doesn’t. Of course all life matters, but all lives aren’t routinely brutalized and oppressed by systematic racism. All we are asking is that we are treated the same way. We are asking for the same rights and protection. To this day I still don’t know why we have to scream it from the rooftop for so many to understand.
I understand we all have our own lives to attend too. All of us aren’t political, all of us don’t have to agree, we just wish you would at least try to understand. As silly as it sounds to base this letter around Facebook, unfortunately this happens to be the world we live in. However, on the positive side, we all have a platform to speak up against what is clearly an injustice that is literally killing us, daily.
In 2016, when the world is at our finger tips, where we are consumed with our phones 24/7 – is it too much to ask that you acknowledge us? If you “love” our culture so much – is it too much to ask that you show you care? Just one time?
And furthermore, if this was you and yours, wouldn’t you want the same respect?
“We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives.” – Beyoncé
Written by Rosa Jason for HipHopCanada
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of HipHopCanada, its affiliates or associates.