Are you angered by the death of George Floyd? We are.
Are you concerned that property destruction and violence are driving the focus away from peaceful and just demonstrations? We are.
Are you ready for Pittsburgh to go back to normal? We are not.
Murder in broad daylight, by agents of the state, is horrific and shocking and cannot stand.
But there are many other and more subtle ways to choke life from BIPOC, all very normal in the before times, such as:
- hiring a BIPOC in your staff only to serve as Diversity & Inclusion or a Community Engagement person,
- employing BIPOC only for menial jobs in hi-tech companies,
- fostering policy and culture that choke off BIPOC opportunities and chances to succeed,
- welcoming industries/companies who offer jobs that our local BIPOC do not qualify,
- telling a journalism student to quit her dream because her Puerto Rican accent was too thick,
- having privileged board of directors to advise on BIPOC issues,
- gentrifying a neighborhood (directly/indirectly),
- appreciating BIPOC only when they work/fit within their stereotypical identity and narratives,
- refusing BIPOC to speak of their own conditions living in the deteriorating neighborhoods,
- discouraging BIPOC who wish to amplify own narratives,
- denying that any of the items listed above is detrimental to the livelihood of BIPOC
All of this normal, accepted behavior is slow motion violence: failing to act systematically, diligently and persistently, as documented by a scathing scientific study (commissioned by City of Pittsburgh) that indicates that Pittsburgh is the worst city in America for Black People.
Yes, we ALL want to feel comfortable and good about ourselves– displaying black screen as avatars, discussing/arguing in social media echo-chambers, posting public statements that you “stand with them.” But feeling comfortable without changing a thing at the expense of BIPOC, especially our Black brothers and sisters, can no longer be an option.
Please watch this video of Van Jones about latent danger of racism and then look at yourself at the mirror. Next, ask people in your own network and circle of influence to do the same.
Back to the old normal is not acceptable.
What are you going to do to create a better now?
Founding Director of Storyburgh
Storyburgh is run by freelancers/part-timers who each have own individual views. The opinion expressed here is my own and does not represent that of the entire group.