Facets of Faith: silence is violence

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Aden McClune

Staff reporter Faith Brocke expresses her emotions and experiences in her column, Facets of Faith.

Faith Brocke, Staff Reporter

In lue of recent personal events, and the constant anti-Black racism that circulates in the world, forming a never ending cycle of oppression, I feel inclined to talk about the silencing of Black voices and lack of accountability held/spread of news related to it, as well as how many feel the need to stay quiet about racism no matter how casual.

Last year, a friend of mine was pulled over for speeding in an area when she was going 70 in a 75 MPH stretch of road. I was in the passenger seat.

I was beyond nervous. Immediately, my brain kicked into overdrive—hands on the dash, eyes forward, don’t speak unless spoken to. I’m not gonna say time slowed down or anything, but if my heart was a car and my BPM were miles, I’d be way over the speed limit.

After verifying that we weren’t somehow in this car illegally, the officer stated that he would be issuing her a ticket for ‘speeding’. She quietly mentioned that she was actually below the speed limit, which he quickly used against her—soon the ‘speeding ticket’ was a ticket for ‘failure to comply with an officer’ and we moved on with our day. No questions asked, nothing muttered under our breaths about a white man who was actually speeding zipped through a red light as the ordeal was taking place. We just… dealt with it.

The silence in the car was deafening until we pulled up to a McDonald’s drive-thru. She started crying; she’d been so afraid of becoming a statistic, just another Black kid falling at the hands of a cop.

That shouldn’t be something I can say casually, or even often, and yet? Here we are.

Being told to suck it up and move on whenever I bring it or any other related events up is really painful, especially when I’m being told these things by other Black people, the very people affected by this most.

It amazes me every time I see it—the internalized need to shut the topic down, either because it is found to be too heartbreaking, or because someone feels like they can’t make a difference.

And sometimes, even I fall into that mindset.

When someone reinforces a stereotype revolving around Black people, or uses a derogatory term for the sake of a joke or to insert themselves into spaces that weren’t created for them, I often let it pass me by like it didn’t happen for the sake of not being called ‘dramatic’  or ‘oversensitive’.

Recently, a member of a girl group mouthed a slur that was said in a song by SZA, and I was floored by the amount of people accepting an apology issued to Black people while not being Black, getting angry at people who didn’t want to accept the apology, and trying to bury the fact that it happened. I’m among the people who were upset, because there’s no excuse for it—she knew what the word meant, grew up speaking English in an anti-Black country, and was well aware of the lyrics. But so, so many people didn’t see an issue with it at all. They kept quiet and are continuing to support her regardless.

I cannot sit back and watch complacently knowing that something like this can happen and it’ll be excused and dismissed without a second thought.

Black people are harassed in general, and especially when they speak out against racism, and watching it unfold time and time again is a harrowing endeavor that always leaves me feeling angry at something that’s been ingrained in society for so long.

So hear me, and listen when I say: silence is not the answer.

When someone says a slur or a derogatory term, call them out on it. When culture is appropriated, acknowledge it. When someone says that the unfair and undeserved deaths of Black people at the hands and knees of cops were ‘their own faults’ think about how insane that really sounds—because in what world does complying equate to being deprived of oxygen?