Normalizing the race conversation and educating ourselves on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Humanitarian – Concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare.

The aim of it all is to encourage and raise a generation of humanitarians who, despite whatever differences we all have as human beings, fights for the equality, freedom, and welfare of the entire human race.

Somewhere in the crossfire however people started to feel uncomfortable, attacked and judged for their responses to the movement. It is our own responsibility to go online and research what exactly the BLM movement entails and what it fights for. Upon educating ourselves we then ought to have the conversation.

In relation to that you may have heard and seen posts all over social media that claim that silence is betrayal and that if you don’t speak on it and in support of it you are one with the enemy. But what does silence mean?

We live in an extremely technologically charged generation. Every thought and opinion is tweeted, placed on an Insta story or WhatsApp status and freedom of speech and expression allow you to air all your thoughts on any specific matter. Suddenly posting on the BLM movement is the definition of being vocal and supportive of the movement. And yes it is—but it’s only one of many ways. Now keep in mind influencers and other high-profile people do have a responsibility to use their platforms for humanitarian purposes—so they are an exception.

However, it does not mean you MUST post. Being vocal is having the BLM conversation with your peers at break time, it is having that conversation with your teachers in class and having it be a normal conversation in schools. Going home and talking around the dinner table and constantly praying for real and true change. It is actively working to break down the institutional racism that exists. We must acknowledge that these injustices do exist because of the past. Being angry at present white peers who never once subscribed to the atrocities of their forefathers is a prejudice and injustice to them. We need to admit there is a problem and work together on finding solutions.

It is about being proactive. Spouting off profanity and slandering another person or institution on social media platforms never encouraged any sort of positive change, especially not in our position. We are outsiders looking in on an age-old problem that is publicly being showcased in the USA. We have every right to feel angry about this injustice, we have every right to hate racist and prejudiced actions. We are, as a global nation, supposed to stand in unity and fight against racial injustice and every other kind of injustice.

It is because of this, that when we bare witness, or are personally the victim of any such injustice —be it at work, in school or in your friendship group — we must speak on it, but we must do so with grace and tact, with diplomacy and kindness. Why? Because hate and anger only spurs on more hate and anger. It is with love that we smother and suffocate hate until it no longer can thrive.

It is when something is not openly discussed that it becomes taboo and controversial. The BLM movement, conversations on existing racism in South Africa and its origins should not be a controversial conversation. It needs to be a normal and constant conversation. It will not become better if we do not talk about, pray about it and collectively do better.

“Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.” – Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

by Layla T. van Sitters