Say their names Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbrey, George Floyd!
Unless you’re living on a rock or off the grid you know the US is burning. There are protests all over the country protesting the lives of black & brown bodies murdered. In the midst of all of this, being a content creator many folks are trying to figure out another way to pivot their content yet again. Just as many of us were learning to work through COVID, now some folks are learning to work through protest! This is a letter to all white/non black people of color.
A common theme I’ve been seeing amongst you all white & non black people of color is asking should they continue to post “casual” content. You don’t feel that it isn’t right to post your normal content because of the protest. A lot of you are questioning should make a YouTube video or IG post to raise awareness about what is going on. I would be lying if I said these “guilty feelings” you all feels didn’t tickle me so.
Black content creators generally don’t need to bring awareness. Why? We already know what’s going on. Our audience, which is typically predominately black, already know what’s going on. We’re fully aware because this is our lives. WE ARE TIRED. We have black fathers, black uncles, black brothers, black cousins, & black friends that could’ve been George Floyd or Ahmaud Abrey or Christian Cooper. We have black mothers, black aunts, black sisters, black friends that could’ve been Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Diamond Reynolds (Philando Castile’s girlfriend).
Being a non-black content creator, you have the CHOICE to be aware or not be aware. You have the choice to address these topics or not address these topics. You have the choice to pretend things are not happening. The fact that you have to make your audience “aware” is in itself a privilege. Because you know people are floating around this earth pretending that racism and the mistreatment of black & brown bodies doesn’t exist. You have the choice to “check out” because these horrible things are not happening to your community. Black content creators don’t have an option to “check out”. We have to address these things even if we don’t want to because it is directly affecting our communities. We have had to do this same song & dance every single time another black man or woman becomes another hashtag. You all don’t.
If we weren’t on quarantine, black people still HAVE to show up regardless. We still have to show up to work, put on a smile, go to that meeting, sit amongst our white co-workers making a point to NOT bring up what’s going on around us. We have to show up & function through the very obvious tension in the air. We have to show up and grit our teeth amongst the all lives matter crowd because we are tired of explaining black lives matter does NOT say only black lives matter. We are tired of having to remind people that these riots didn’t just come out of the blue. We are tired of being peaceful and being ignored. We are tired of seeing people care more about looting than the catalyst of what got us to this point. We are tired of having to tell yall to STOP using Martin Luther King as your pillar of peaceful protests. We are tired of Karens calling the police on us for trivial things. We are tired of having to educate you all.
Many of us want a break from the trauma. Your lives are a continuous break from this trauma. Talk to any black content creators that you consider a peer. Ask us how often do we check out. Ask us when we made the conscious choice to NOT watch another video of a black man dying. Ask us what it’s like to have to take care of not only our mental health but the mental health of our black audience. Ask us what it’s like to have to constantly explain why black on black crime is a myth. Ask us what it’s like to be the ONLY voice for a brand’s diversity quota. So yes many of us black content creators want to post about clothes or Insecure or funny memes because that’s all we have left to get through this.
Black content creators have no choice but to work through all of this. We don’t want you all to feel guilty. We don’t want you to apologize for being white or not black. That is not in your control. We don’t want you to be colorblind. We want you to understand that we are not the same. We are not dealing with the same issues. And that is okay. We want you to understand us. We want you to see our color, just don’t treat us differently, judge us, or kill us for it.