We knew this would happen again– shootings, racists and symbols of hate.
Each time there’s a shooting, I think “I can’t believe this is happening again.” But I’m kidding myself, and so are you. I knew this would happen again. You knew this would happen again. If you’re white, it’s more gun violence. If you’re black you expect that a cop is involved. And if you’re a minority of any type, you dread that it’s another hate crime.
Playing our part, we ask, “how could this happen again?” As if since our last collective gasp we actually did something about it. As if we did something about racism. As if we did something about guns, or mental illness or rape or…
What did we do last time? There might have been a few states that passed laws closing gun show loopholes. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe a gun rights activists or a racist official said something something that made them look stupid. Something we could all point at and cringe together– to cry shame, cast fury and all that.
Hell, I said some shit on Twitter. And you did too! We were all so horrified and angry, we looked for comfort or answers… maybe an ally.
And thank goodness you good people are right there in my timeline because I got too much going on IRL to be active in my local community. That’s not to say that this online community of ours is any less valuable. It’s simply different. We opt in.
We point each other to excellent posts, resources or places to donate. We react together, fave, like and heart each other and it’s beautiful. We are supportive, myriad and unique. But it won’t be enough to stop this violent erosion of our culture if we are not emboldened by the support and the distributed smarts of our online communities and use it in real life.
Every time we see something racist, or sexist, or discriminatory, say something.
Directly to the person.
“See something, say something” can no longer be about suspicious looking brown people. Instead, say something about bigotry and hatred everywhere we see it. It has to start somewhere. Call it out. It has to start in our own circles of family and friends.
Through our social channels we’ve managed to get stupid people fired, stopped SOPA/PIPA and elected a Black president two times.
This time South Carolina stopped flying the Confederate battle flag on state grounds. Even now there are questions about removing the Stars and Bars embedded in the Mississippi state flag. What should have been common sense may have taken over 150 years and a tragedy, but that white supremacists’ flag is not flying over Columbia tonight. That’s worth something.
And there I go being optimistic again. Will these symbolic changes, these tweaks do something, or matter? I don’t think so. Not if the only place we demand change is in a timeline.