(DISCLAIMER: I do not know everything there is to know about racism, police brutality, and protesting. I do however know what I have experienced, seen, and learned in my own life. I do not claim to be an expert, I am stating opinions.)
As a young person with one white parent and one black parent, what’s my stance on racism? What’s my stance on George Floyd, riots, and the division that our country is facing? What’s my stance on the fact that racism is still present in 2020?
Above everything else, I believe one thing: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
George Floyd’s death was enraging, to say the very least. I was disgusted to see how someone could blatantly disregard another person’s life as that police officer did. He and any other officers involved in Floyd’s death need to be charged accordingly. Justice is needed here: but the need for justice does not overcome the need for a unified, loving community. We need black people, white people, biracial and multiracial people, police officers, activists, and everyone else in the world to unite and fight racism together.
Black lives matter. If anyone doesn’t believe that, they need to get a reality check. But so do the lives of the people who have lost their very livelihoods in fires set by rioters. So do the lives of people who have lost jobs and had to leave work, not knowing how they’re going to feed themselves or their families anymore.
Hate cannot fight hate. We all should be angry, but we should not be hurting other innocent people in our rage. Some people feel that peaceful protests won’t get the attention that is needed, and maybe that is true, but that is why we don’t stop. We keep protesting peacefully, keep spreading love, and keep shouting for equality until it is given to us.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Burning our very own community and hurting the people in it may have pushed the arrest of the man who killed George Floyd, but it will not carry on the legacy of George Floyd. The Bible says: “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” Ezekial 33:11
I do not want to think of riots, fires, tear gas, shooting, and citywide unrest when I hear George Floyd’s name. I want to hear it and think of a country united to fight one common enemy: racism.
As a mixed-race person, I have a small foot in both worlds, so to speak. Growing up in a rural, mostly white community, I have never had to experience firsthand being cursed out for my color, being left out of things because of my skin (at least not to my knowledge), or being told I’m less than because of my race. I have, however, experienced the confusion and sadness that I may never be equal to a blonde or lighter-skinned person in some peoples’ eyes, that my siblings, dad, and I may not have the benefit of the doubt dealing with police authority, and that people of color just like me are suffering unjustly around America every single day.
The violence and unrest have gone on long enough. You may not always see it through your rage, but the world hears you. The world is going to change if the next generation has anything to say about it, but the world will not change through fire and destruction. Fire and destruction have been going on for a long, long time. The thing that truly has to change is our desire to love each other and stand together, instead of on two sides, yelling obscenities and trying to harm each other to get our point across.
I watched a video by a black police officer the other day, and he had some very wise words for everyone who watched it. As a part of the next world-changing generation, we are watching you. We are watching the adults and role models in our lives. We and everyone younger than us are watching the rage and anger and hatred, and we are learning. That’s what we do, we look at the generation above us and we learn. I do not want to learn division and hatred any longer, I want to learn to love everyone and unite with them, and I want everyone younger than me to learn that as well.
We see the unrest, we see the hatred, we see the unjustness and unfairness of it all. We need to drive away that darkness with the only thing that will truly make a difference: light.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
(NOTE: Peaceful protests and riots are both happening around the country. I support peaceful protesting where property, people, and lives aren’t being damaged. I am speaking about and do not condone harmful or violent rioting, looting, and fire-setting.).
About the Author:
Hey, I’m Anika; a teen creative on a mission to inspire and encourage other people like myself. I’ve developed a passion for and learned to express myself through many things, including writing, design, music, and photography. I hope that using these passions I can be a light to the world and to others’ hearts.