In the wake of the racist violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, Lady Gaga took it upon herself to start a hashtag #BeKind, and another soon popped up on Twitter, #ThisIsNotUS.
Really? This is not us? Be Kind?
Newsflash, being kind is not a solution to systemic racism. Kind people were sold into slavery. Kind people were lynched. Kind people are serving life sentences in prison for trumped up charges. Kind people are murdered because they were transgender. Kind people are vilified because of their sexuality. Kind people are murdered in the streets by the police. Kind people were run over in Charlottesville, Virginia. Kind people have been murdered fighting against injustice. A kind woman, Heather Heyer, sacrificed her life for justice.
Lady Gaga and others that jumped on the #BeKind trend do a disservice to those that have sacrificed their very lives to fight for justice. Being unkind is not what caused these issues. And simply being kind to people that seek to destroy you, is not going to fix them. Being kind is not a solution to racism and hatred. Confronting racism will not always be roses, daffodils, fluffy clouds and sunshine.
For the people sharing the, This Is Not Us hashtag, if it is not you, then who is it? THIS IS YOU! This is America. This has been America since its inception. Making up a hashtag so that you can sleep better at night will not erase racism. Trying to exclude yourself from White people that commit heinous acts will not make racism go away. This is You. All of it. Take a look at it.
This is the system that you benefit from. While your hand may not be on the murder weapon every time you do not stand up against injustice, you are a part of the problem. If you are fighting to have the show Confederate on HBO, you are a part of the problem. If you voted for a man because you chose racism over humanity, you are a part of the problem. If you allow your friends and family to make racist jokes and you remain silent, you are a part of the problem. If you see injustice happening and refuse to speak up, you are a part of the problem. If you are raising children with racist beliefs and don’t want to “get in their business,” you are part of the problem. If you are not using your privilege and influence to benefit those that are marginalized, you are a part of the problem. Every time you create a hashtag to absolve yourself from guilt, you are a part of the problem.
The reason this nation along with the world remains broken and cannot heal is because White people have taken on a “This is Not Us” attitude. White people have difficulty admitting THIS IS US. Nothing will ever change until you accept responsibility for what your race has collectively done to innocent people around the world. It is time for you to look in the mirror and take a good hard look at what you have done.
You enslaved innocent Black men, women, and children. You murdered innocent Black people. You raped a nation of its resources for your profit. You lynched Black people and took pictures smiling as their bodies hung from trees. You raped Black women while your wives pretended not to see. You bought and sold Black people for your financial gain. You continue to profit off the backs of Black people. You continue to profit financially from slavery. You stole land from Indigenous People. You relocated Indigenous Tribes leaving them to suffer from disease, exposure, and starvation. You sent innocent people to gas chambers. You made lampshades out of the skin of innocent Jewish people. You profited from the murder of innocent Jewish people and still reap the benefits of that blood money today. You performed medical research on Black people without their consent and withheld treatment. You sterilized Indigenous and Black women without their knowledge. You stole human cells from a Black woman and used them to advance medicine and your profits all without her consent. You turned your back on America and bombed American citizens. You walked into schools and slaughtered innocent children. You sent tainted blood to foreign countries for profit. You drove a car into innocent people, injuring many and killing one. You have committed some of the most heinous, egregious crimes against humanity and that is who you are.
And I know it ain’t pretty. But sometimes the truth doesn’t come decked out in lipstick, eyelashes, and stilettos. This is who you are.
All of this happened, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is not a figment of our imagination. White people did this. And for there to be any progression part of that is owning your responsibility. And before you give me the, “I wasn’t involved in that” line, if you are White, you have benefitted from everything that I have listed. Making a cute hashtag, will not absolve you of the guilt you do not want to face.
What would have been a better hashtag is to say THIS IS US and what can we do to correct the mistakes that we have made? That is how you start to make a difference. You don’t make a difference by sticking your head in the sand and pretending you are not a part of the problem.
When will White people collectively step up to the plate and own responsibility for their crimes against humanity? When will White people finally say,” THIS IS US”? When will White people admit their complicity in systemic racism?
Only then can this nation and the world begin to heal. Some of the very steps to healing is admitting there is a problem and admitting your role in the problem. Until that happens, Lady Gaga, your hashtag does nothing to move America towards healing.