No, I do not. I believe that for many, specifically mainstream society, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement was a moment. Many could not dodge it, as we were connected virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be the closest to comfort many did the black out squares, did a hash tag for George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, to feel as if they were apart of it but not on the wrong side. It was still a moment for them to say, “this is the problem, but I am not the problem.”
I do believe that for many it has became a movement, especially Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth and young adults who saw that using your voice and collective action can be beneficial on a local and national level. There are many who saw what happened last summer and chose to stand up and keep the pressure moving forward. More activists, lawmakers, decision makers will be from the young people fighting for an equitable community that got their passion from that moment last year.
Issues of race have certainly become a more conscious part in the lives of white people, but not in the way they frequently think. They read more books, and use new (to them) vocabulary, but the issues themselves haven’t improved for people of color. Awareness is a good place to start, but many white people have treated awareness as the end point, so after reading a book over the summer, or attending the occasional seminar, they feel their work is done with no tangible actions to back up these feelings. These white people who think they’re “done” continue to harm people of color on a daily basis, but feel their perceived knowledge and fear of being called “racist” is enough to keep them from being held accountable. [A principal at a local] high school flaunts the anti-racist seminars he attends, but still deliberately punishes students of color for raising valid concerns of racism in the classroom. Attending these seminars and reading these books – these aren’t credentials. It means nothing if the people in power continue to purposely silence voices of color instead of supporting them with tangible actions. So now what we have is people patting themselves on the back for discovering how to discuss issues of race, while still actively hurting us as students of color.
In my opinion, they have not. They are attacking voting rights. Police are still avoiding accountability. They are really trying to go back in time and strip us of the rights black people worked and died for.
I never experienced what you see on the news or even pay attention to the news, but some people that grow up around racism and racial violence might not think it’s changed. Although I do believe racism is out there, regardless of what others may be teaching their children and depending on where you live, it might be worse than others, but I think even with some of the strides Black people have made, we still have to struggle and fight for ours.
I don’t think there has been much of a difference. To me it seemed like everything was a big publicity stunt and once things died down they went back to not caring. There is still a lot of racism in the world and the protest did a good job on shedding light onto it, but as far as changing anything I don’t know. It doesn’t feel any different than before, even after all of what happened.
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