Put the match down.

(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Like most of America and the world I have been watching the US burn. I am not surprised. Frankly I am surprised it has taken this long. Living in the Southern US I have been aware that we are sitting on a pile of kindling for awhile. Naively I believed that most of the racism happening in this country was in the South and some larger metro cities. Even then I thought the numbers of racists were diminishing; they were like old dirty perverted men who feel entitled to women’s bodies, a dying breed. In 2016 I learned that not everyone was as optimistic and empathetic as me.

The last few years my optimism has waned and I find myself angry, a lot. When a woman told me that she didn’t care if Kavanaugh had assaulted or even raped a woman because the greater “good” was for the US to have a conservative judge, I realized things were getting worse. Privileged people felt comfortable sharing things that previously they would keep at home. They could have some like minded friends over and share a sexist or racist joke and not worry about offending anyone because you were with your people. People were okay letting you know that “those people” deserved whatever was happening to them. It could be gays, women, or minorities: The Bible doesn’t like gay people. They asked to be raped. Who cares if their country is oppressive, they should stay there. If black people want the same things white people have they just need to work as hard.

The kindling we had been sitting on now has gas added to it.

My friends and I talk every day. We ask each other what should we do? What can we do? How can we help? Financially who would benefit the most from a donation?

This morning I logged onto Instagram and was stunned to see dozens and dozens of black screens. No one tagged Black Lives Matter, if they did someone let them know to remove the tag so people who were looking for information could search that hashtag. I was happy to be surprised by a few people who posted a black screen. I then went to Twitter. Instead of people using the IG as momentum a lot just want to call them tone deaf. Ironically, at least to me, was the amount of white women lecturing white people. Actually it wasn’t a lecture, it was moral superiority masquerading as moral outrage.

I have a friend who posts several selfies a day, maybe its low self esteem or maybe its vanity but everyday my feed is choked with her smiling face. Today she posted a single black screen. I am sure throughout her day she has thought to take a selfie and post, it has to be a habit at this point. Probably every time she went to post she remembered why she shouldn’t. Maybe she will go home tonight and have a talk with her husband about what is happening in our country and how maybe they can help.

So maybe before you make assumptions you should put the match down. Maybe be a leader and say “okay, here is our next step.”

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