Its your girl Takima and I am back with PART 2 of the “It Starts with a Conversation” blog series. If you didn’t get to read the first one, check it out here. As the dust is settling and people are making more noise and letting their “voices be heard” whether in protest or these internet streets, I’ve noticed something that needs to be addressed.
With the spark of injustice ignited by George Floyd everyone has had something to say. People who I personally didn’t expect to say anything to people I knew would have a POV and then some. Even in the in the non-profit where I serve as data specialist and program assistant, there have been intentional staff conversations surrounding injustice and being black in America. Very much needed however I have noticed something that I believe needs to be addressed.
Insert Pink Elephant in the Room
I have noticed on the internet and in person there are people who are shaming those that have not said anything or given an opinion about the events that are taking place in our world. Now, on some level I believe EVERYONE is thinking about it because realistically how can you not, however on the other hand does that mean that you MUST speak publicly on it? That is the question I will do my best to answer here. You know the saying “opinions are like buttholes everyone has one”? Well, just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you have to express it for the world to hear. I happen to be very vocal and expressive, hence this blog, so of course I was going to take the opportunity to discuss what is going on and share my thoughts and feelings. Everyone isn’t like that and that is OKAY! People who have a voice and choose to use it should not force, ridicule or shame others to use theirs. This topic and tragic event has caused severe trauma to some and for others have put them in a space where if they did speak it would be utterly taken out of context and cause more friction. People have the right to keep their feelings to themselves and should not be “bullied” to speak up if they choose not to.
Common sense right?
Well common sense isn’t so common and adults are the biggest bullies out there. I have witnessed people either negating the reality of what is going on and ignoring people’s feelings about it and/or people are literally cornering people to speak and trying to make them feel bad for not. I mean how is that okay or making lives better? Being down for the cause is respecting how people process and how they choose to use their voices or opinions. Some have channeled their pain or thoughts into doing more in their communities, or have sowed money into organizations that can and will assist to make this world a better environment for every person black and white. I believe we need to understand that everyone’s voice is not just used with their mouth, your voice can be used money, taking action and putting in effort to build up communities, businesses or creating opportunities for those who would not otherwise access to them.
What about the Big Corporations and Brands
Here are my thoughts and realities regarding big companies and corporations speaking up and out about injustice and equality.
1. THEY ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SPEAK!
Every business has a set of values, morals and ethics that they go by. If those core values do not line up with what is going on, why would they speak on or make a statement about what is happening? That would be going against their business ideals and because of that a statement will not be made and we should not expect it.
2. Brands and Businesses ALWAYS speak the language of their top consumers.
Big businesses or brands that have made statements have an obligation to their customers, especially to the black ones. If they have a large black following or customer base their statements are made to make sure that their target audience sees their efforts and to guarantee they do not lose them. Are they sincere about their statements, I would hope so but just so we are clear just because they made a statement doesn’t mean that is how they truly feel, just being honest.
3.Watch the actions behind the statement!
After the statement is made look at the action afterwards. Businesses can say and make statements all day but what are they going to do to follow that up? Make sure that those big brands and businesses that have had banners made that scream #BlackLivesMatter really believe in, support and are DOING something to show they truly believe and stand behind that
That’s all I have for now, join me in the conversation in the comments below! I want to know what you think and if you have been or felt bullied to speak. It’s not okay to feel pressured and when the hype is all said and done the fight continues. That is what matters. So, lets talk! I am here and just in case you missed the first convo, read it here.
I will see you in PART 3 on Friday! Until then, be BRAVVE and Unapologetic!