Yogi Roth’s video, What does it mean to be human? states how “being torn apart does not mean what it means to be human.” I needed to hear these words over and over again after seeing the lack of empathy and humanity in the officers who murdered George Floyd on May 25th.
This past week I did not have the words to express what was going on in my head while hearing about George Floyd and seeing the video. I watched it even though it was so painful to see, because this is a reality in our world. Turning away is a privilege that people of color do not have, as they’ve been forced to deal with the repercussions of racism. I want to acknowledge that as a white person, I have not experienced the struggles of black people in the United States. Regardless, I need to become educated and aware because they have had to carry the burden of hate and injustice for far too long.
Being a part of the International Dyslexia Association Oregon Branch, I have seen many of this organization’s teaching trainings. In these trainings for teachers, we do a dyslexia simulation. This gives them a chance to experience what it is like to be dyslexic in the classroom. The feedback after the simulation is that it was hard, uncomfortable, and people seriously wanted to leave the room. I usually reflect on this, as people with dyslexia do not get to leave the room. They endure a learning challenge 8 hours a day in school and dyslexia is lifelong.
The same messaging applies as I learn more about the racist country I live in, and how people of color endure horrific mistreatment and brutality. There is no escape for them. They can’t just leave the classroom. It is 2020, and black people have been vocalizing these injustices for far too long without change. We all need to do better.
Shaun King posted this video and asked that we do not pick it apart. Instead listen to it with empathy, hear the pain, recognize the leadership in this video. I saw what Shaun King was describing in this powerful young leader.
I want to do better, because it is our moral duty to fight the oppressors and not continue to silence the oppressed. Silence in this matter is complicit. “Being human means to go for it, to live our truth, to use our voice.”