By Aleshia Keyzer
I'm surprised my tongue is still attached after how hard I have been biting it this past week. When events occur that rock the nation, such as the events that have taken place this past week, I plead with myself to stay off of social media. All my Facebook newsfeed manages to do is infuriate me. I see so much hate and so much arguing - but no solutions. Never once have I seen an argument over a difference in beliefs that ended with "You know what, that makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain that." Instead we are taking these horrific tragedies as opportunities to spew hateful words at one another. We are insulting friends, fighting with loved ones and contributing to the madness of this world we live in. I have debated on sharing my opinion on this issue because I don't want to contribute to the madness, but what am I doing by remaining silent? As a 23-year-old white woman, I know there isn't much I can do to help this terrible situation. However, I feel that by holding my tongue I am remaining indifferent - and I most certainly am not indifferent about the society that I live in.
One thing that I have seen consistently on social media this past week is the statement "All Lives Matter" and every time I want to respond with "The Grass is Green" or "The Sun is Hot". Obviously all lives matter and nobody is arguing any differently. "Black Lives Matter" is a movement. It is a revolution fighting for racial equality. With every "All Lives Matter" hashtag we are taking away from the importance of this movement and taking a step back from any change that needs to happen in our society. It is baffling to see so many of my Facebook friends (a majority white) ignoring this movement or staying oblivious to this effort at a revolution by stating the obvious...All Lives Matter.
I have no idea how it feels to walk the streets of America with black skin. I have no idea how it feels to bring a black baby boy into this world. I have no idea how it feels to be black and to see the sirens of a cop car light up behind you. What I do know is that my white Facebook friends have no idea either. What I do know is that it has been only 151 years since the owning and abuse of black people was LEGAL. What I do know is that 1 in every 15 black men are incarcerated compared to 1 in every 106 white men. What I do know is that racial injustices DO still exist and if we want to leave this world a better place for our children, we need to stop ignoring that.
What happened to Alton Sterling and Philado Castile is heartbreaking. What happened to those officers in Dallas is horrendous. We need to stop arguing over which death we're most offended by because I think it's safe to say that we are all offended by every unfortunate death that has taken place recently. We need to start the discussion that leads us to a solution and to a country where ALL are treated equally. I truly hope that this past week goes down in the history books as being a rock bottom for America, and that we are able to pick ourselves up and come together united as we should be. Are we even able to call ourselves the United States of America anymore after how divided we have become?
-The Privileged White Girl
Aleshia Keyzer is a recent graduate from Grand Valley State University. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education. To read more from Aleshia you can follow her blog at www.thekeyzerchronicles.wordpress.com
This was printed in the July 24, 2016 - August 6, 2016 edition.