Growing up as a young child in rural America, I remember parents telling their kids, “You don’t start a fight, but if you have to, you finish one.”
Those families weren’t teaching their children to be inherently violent. They were teaching them to stand up for themselves, to stand up against bullies.
We understood that we were never allowed to throw the first punch, but we knew that if we had to fight back, even if we got in trouble, we were supported in doing so. We were expected to come home with our bruises and our bloody knees, having taught someone a lesson in the futility of picking on us.
Now, as an adult, we are seeing this on a much larger scale.
The Black community has been beaten, bullied, and oppressed. They have, for years, fought back in protest. They have knelt, they have peacefully protested, they have given speech after speech that has fallen on deaf ears. They’ve begged for their lives, pleaded to be seen, and asked repeatedly to be treated with common human decency. They’ve talked and knelt until their knees and mouths could bear no more.
And now, they are fighting back.
They didn’t start this fight, but an effort is being made to finally finish it, and many in society are condemning them. Please do not misconstrue what I’m saying—the violence breaks my heart. The looting makes me terribly sad. But, my heart empathizes with them. I’m sad for the damage that is being done. I’m pained for the people who are losing property or suffering damage, but we, as a country, have pushed it to this point.
Every time a deaf ear was turned to racism, the boiling point was raised.
Every time someone sat at a holiday table and heard an ignorant relative utter bigotry and racism without meeting resistance, the boiling point was raised.
For every person who turned their back when another innocent person was murdered by our government because it’s “not our problem,” the boiling point was raised.
Now, we are seeing the consequence of these actions.
But, if we are more concerned with the rebellions and the damage being caused after the fact than we are with why it had to to happen in the first place, we are part of the problem. If we are more upset by the damage caused to property than we are by the loss of human life, we are part of the problem.
It is time to be a part of the solution. To be enraged for our fellow human. To fight for our fellow human. And, to stand beside them as we face the consequences of fixing our country and rebuilding that which has been broken—whether it be property, or more importantly, the treatment of our fellow man.
Let’s stand together and be united in outrage and injustice until it can be overcome.
Watch an anti-racism hour with Jane Elliott talking with Waylon Lewis of Elephant, here.