Quiet, Down in Front: The Silencing Tactic of the Complacent
Updated: May 31
It both amuses me greatly and annoys me to the Nth degree that those complicit with systemic and every day racism have the gall to post MLK quotes as they talk about how black people today need to protest peacefully like he did instead of being "violent" and "angry."
Alrighty, Tone Police. I'll see your "alternative facts" and raise you actual, historical ones. To many white people back then, his peaceful protests weren't seen as peaceful. The very acts of sitting in a white-only diner or Rosa Parks' refusal to move to the "Negro" section of the bus were seen as violent.
Over forty years later, not much has changed. As black people, no matter what we do to protest, we will be seen as violent. For racists and enablers of racism, the colors of our skin are the indicators of aggression.
The frightening amount of hatred garnered by Colin Kaepernick's simple act of kneeling quietly during the pledge was proof of that mentality.
During the Civil Rights Movement, the "good, peaceful Negro" closet racists and those who care more about their privileged comfort than the lives of black people love to paint MLK as being was on the same level as Malcolm X--and he was murdered for that.
Interesting how many of those same people like to ignore how and why his untimely death came about. (Between you and me, I smell alternative facts.)
The discomfort with black-led social justice activism movements doesn't stem from a fear of violence. If that was the case, those same people would've spouted their peace mantras at the white Kentucky fans who violently rioted and angrily set fires in response to their college basketball team's loss in 2014--and then again in 2015. That was not the case. The students were merely "blowing off steam" and "just upset." No one called them "violent." No one labelled them "thugs."
And what was their cause for their riots? A freaking basketball game. A. Game.
Black people are vilified every time we speak out against racism and the many instances of injustice against us, yet we're "divisive," "violent," and in need of "calming down."
Sorry-not-sorry, but I'm not going to "calm down" to preserve your comfort. I'm not going to be nicey-nice because you don't want to feel guilt about your complacency.
It doesn't matter how liberal you say that you are. Being liberal doesn't automatically equal being anti-racism. If you feel discomfort when it comes to how black people choose to protest against the racism we've been forced to face on a daily basis, you're still centering yourself. Unpack your privilege, be an intersectional supporter, and for the love of biscuits, listen and let black folks speak without talking over us.