Staying Angry, Because We Should Be

Kaia Wirth, Editor-in-Chief

It’s been difficult to find words that match the tone of the political climate lately, and at the risk of sounding ignorant or politically incorrect, I’ve refrained from writing anything pertaining to racism in America towards the black community, until now. The truth is, I was nervous to write about a topic that affects black people in this country, because I felt as though I wasn’t worthy to share my thoughts on something that doesn’t affect me. Granted, I am a minority, and I live in a predominantly white town in Maine, but I won’t pretend that the racism I’ve experienced is comparable to the plight of black people in this country. It is for this reason that I still felt as though I needed permission to discuss the vast injustices committed against black people. And yet, in these past months as more and more of my peers have spoken out about their stances on racism, I’ve realized that I don’t have to be black to share black stories or spread information on the movement, because as history has shown, this affects us all. 

I would like to preface my next statements by sharing my pride in all those involved in the most recent wave of the civil rights movement, most importantly the members of my generation who have become involved. I’ve observed great feats of courage from passersby in protest, I’ve read things written by people who surprised me with their unexpected eloquence, and I’ve heard difficult conversations being had between friends and strangers alike. And I’m proud, however, there is a downside.

 In the direct weeks following George Floyd’s murder, I saw floods of Instagram posts preaching for the end of racism, I clicked through repost after repost on my follower’s stories, and of course, I saw the multitudes of black photos posted on Blackout Tuesday. Social media has proven to be as integral to the movement as it is in everyday life. Information spreads like wildfire through just a few clicks, but it can die just as quickly. Donation links have slowly disappeared from bios, discussions have lessened, and it looks as though many people feel like they’ve done their part in the movement, treating the protests as a passing fad. My message is to remind people to stay motivated, and stay angry. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and revolutions weren’t successful overnight. Racism remains, and will continue to be one of the greatest flaws in American society. It won’t be knocked out after some protests, and it certainly won’t end if it’s forgotten about. 

I want my words to serve as reminder of the anger we felt after George Floyd’s murder. Murder and the killings of minorities should not be the turning point for Americans to have a conversation about race. There are moments of racism that occur every day, in seemingly insignificant ways. So you want to do something about racism? Be vigilant in taking notice of the sneaky ways it has evolved throughout the years, and call it out when you see it. This could be in the form of confronting comments or jokes made about black members of this community. It could be in the form of speaking out against someone repeating racist ideals. Whatever it may be-make sure it isn’t overlooked or disregarded. Many forms of racism spur from the normalization of bigoted habits, like saying the n-word in a song or making racist jokes. And yes, many people have become desensitized to these things just because it’s considered “normal.” I’m not going to try to convince masses of teenagers to stop saying the n-word, or to try to stop them from making racist jokes, that would be highly unrealistic. However, understand that racism will never truly die until these things die, and there has to be a start somewhere. 

We made posts, we had the discussions, we went to protests, we did that. Now, we need to move onto the next phase of the movement. I am begging you not to lose that original feeling of injustice. I am begging that the incredible conversations being had are not lost to memory. I am begging, so that one day, each of our individual actions has pushed the needle until all are truly created equal, as was promised in the Declaration of our Independence.