Listening More Deeply

On Friday I began a direct message conversation with a follower about a recent post offering tangible steps to take for Ahmaud Arbery. In this tweet I stated phone numbers, government officials to call, and a plea to stop sharing the video circulating of Ahmaud’s death.

In this tweet I said, “Stop sharing the video. Black Death is not a spectacle. And the sharing of this video is traumatizing. We as a society shouldn’t have to see the horror to believe mothers.”

Language is vital and the ways we share a truth matters. I am horrified at how the media only tells stories of Black Death when a video surfaces. I am horrified at the trauma these videos trigger as they spread across social media. I am horrified that black and brown mothers fear for their child’s life every time they leave the house.

While these feelings are still true, there are truths about what this tweet masks that I want to share here.

Black Death is a spectacle in America. And in many cases Black mothers do have to show videos for us to believe them. And by us, I mean predominately white people.

The truth is black voices are rarely heard until mainstream media outlets show the horrific scenes of black violence. And this violence against Black and Brown people happens every day. This systemic violence is of white supremacy and of America.

During my direct message conversation I was reminded that in my attempts as a white person to use my privilege to propel truth forward I also have to tell the truth of today – the right now. 

By not naming this truth in a present tense and more expansively, this diminishes the emotion and truth of what is and does unfold in America everyday.  

I cannot share just my hope for what I want to see – I have to tell the depths of memory of the now and the past. 

Skipping the step of holding this truth in full solidarity can minimize the experiences of Black and Brown people, as well as the truth of the continued racial disparity that exists in this country. 

To the woman who chose to reach out and share her emotions and concerns through conversation, thank you. I believe you.

Here are voices I greatly value:

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