If you are using Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to follow the nationwide demonstrations following George Floyd’s murder, then you are consuming a serious volume of moral and ethical prescriptions about what this moment requires.
Posts instructing you to speak out about injustice are bundled with tweets reminding you to privilege voices other than your own, and informed takes on the pervasiveness of systemic race prejudice in America urge you to both recognize your complicity in those systems and to take steps to dismantle them.
It’s right. It’s all right. All of it is right.
And it’s a bit intimidating, because it is so right. Which imperative do you prioritize? What happens if you do or say something wrong? Will you end up making matters worse? The plurality and the passion of the voices urging action are compelling and confusing at the same time.
We may need to trust our gut here. If your impulse is to reach out in empathy, then make a call or send a text. If you want to know more and to understand better, then read up–that’s not doing nothing. If you feel compelled to speak, then write a post or convene a conversation–if you trust us to receive your less-than-perfect sense of things, we’ll trust you with our honest reaction.
We need more connections right now, not fewer, between earnest people who desire to make things more just and less racist, even if many of us are operating with imperfect rationales and underdeveloped self-awareness and implicit biases. Flawed engagement beats unimpeachable disengagement every time, because it leads to better future engagement–and this struggle is far from over.