Silence is Violence

In this time, we are constantly seeing injustices. From the killings of Black lives, Indigenous people trying to reclaim their land, the water poisoning of communities of color and the continuous violence against trans women of color, specifically Black trans women. It is hard for me to be silent in this time. Particular communities are under attack and their voices are being silenced. As a queer black woman, I experience first hand the effects of discrimination. My identities compound and create a unique form of oppression. I have had experiences that white people may not. I cannot afford to be silent. One of my favorite quotes by Zora Neale Hurston, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” In my life, this is always present in the back of my mind. From day to day, I do not let microaggressions or blatant racism overtake my space and being. Silence for those like me could mean death. It has meant death. This quote may be from the early 1900s but it is forever relevant today. The expression of injustices is the only way to fight back.

Many will say that I am making everything about race, gender and sexuality. No, I am not. We do not live in a post-racial society and sexism is alive and well. That particular perspective displays a position of privilege in society. When I walk around this world, I cannot peel my skin back. This is not a mask. My identities are embedded in me. My perspective is unique but also real and tangible. I do not go a day without being aware of my color, sexuality, or gender.

I honestly blame the shell of allyship. These days, most are set on being allies in private. The first example of a fake ally is someone who is afraid to speak up in real life and time. They will not speak up for their friends in times of racism, sexism, or homophobia but will discuss the anger they felt for them. They will give you their sorrows and claim how they “wanted” to speak up for you. This “ally” will fail to speak up for you every time. Another example is the social media ally, the one that does a lot of talking on social media but fails to actively participate in discussion or speak up during time of injustice. This ally will share articles, pictures and words from famous activists but cannot formulate words themselves. They will call themselves “woke” and refuse to see you as more than a click or a link.

Silence is just as bad as violence. To not speak on the injustices happening around you, only perpetuates it to continue. This is the reason many are rising up and reclaiming their bodies. Speaking up is not just the duty of those marginalized. These issues effect our communities. Look around and see it for yourself. Choosing to be silent is choosing to ignore and inevitably pushes injustices forward.

One thought on “Silence is Violence

  1. First of all, “When I walk around this world, I cannot peel my skin back. This is not a mask. My identities are embedded in me.” gave me chills. Your stance is amazing, as is your voice.

    I strongly relate to your discussion of social media allyship – sometimes I engage in that myself, and I see my friends engage in it daily. People are sharing links for social justice, but never look below the surface or try to help out.

    In that same way, though, is sharing things like GoFundMe’s or things that support donation to specific charities/righting injustices, count as silence or active participation? Or does it only count if the person who shares it actually makes a donation?


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