Op-Ed: Why Blogger Activism Is Important
“I’d like to speak to her when she’s done with that customer.” A harmless statement made by a woman after making her purchase at a different register, right? Wrong. A million questions started coming into my mind. Then panic set in. She wanted to talk to me? Why? I didn’t even assist her. In fact, I just came back from my break and she was already at the register. What does she want with me?
As a black woman, seeing a white woman asking the manager if she could speak to me is a terrifying position to be in. Yes, I work in a predominantly white area in Northern California – a progressive area where the white folks are “woke” – but I was still scared. I’ve seen children run away at the sight of me. I didn’t even say a word to them and they run. I’ve greeted customers and have had them pretend like they don’t see me. And it hurts. Why are you afraid of me? But I can’t say that it’s because I’m black because that would make you seem racist. And you’re not. You voted for Obama or you have a black friend so it’s fine. Well, I’m here to tell you that those things don’t excuse you. Do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars.
The aftermath of Charlottesville still has me reeling today. I couldn’t believe what I saw and read. Did I dream it? I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t cry, scream, or yell. I was just numb. And what do I do when I have trouble expressing my emotions out loud? I write them down. It breaks my heart that racism is still an issue in 2017. My grandparents were raised in the segregated south. My parents were children during the civil rights era. We elected our first black president just 9 years ago. What in the crisp f**k? How many of you have reached out to your PoC, LGBTQ, and immigrant friends and let them know you’re there for them? They need your support. And not just when tragedies happen. They need you 24/7/365.
You may remember a post I wrote back in February about how the blogging world is racist. Some of you were probably uncomfortable reading it just like you’re probably uncomfortable reading this post today. Good. It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. The only way we’re going to bring about change is by tackling the issues that are uncomfortable instead of pretending like they don’t exist. And the reason why you don’t think they exist is because it doesn’t directly affect you. But here’s something you may not realize, fellow bloggers: your silence is deafening.
As bloggers, not using our platforms to speak on serious issues is doing a disservice to our readership. Our lives aren’t perfect so who cares if posting a quote throws off your perfect Instagram feed? News flash: there’s plenty of other times to post that photo of the peonies you bought today. People are being discriminated against, persecuted, denied civil and human rights, and being senselessly killed around you. But no, you’re more concerned with losing followers or sponsorships than the human condition. Those humans are your followers too though. Or maybe you feel like it’s not our place to speak on political or religious or cultural issues? Nope. Try again. It IS our place to do so and it’s imperative that we do. At the end of the day, we are all one race. The human race. We need to stop being so selfish and self-involved and pay attention. Society is crumbling right before our eyes and you’re more concerned about which filter to use on Snapchat. What’s wrong with THAT picture??
Please, bloggers, do better. I need you. WE need you.
P.S. you may have noticed that I signed this post with “Amber” instead of “CCB”. CCB is fantasy whereas Amber is reality.
Photography: Elliott Alexander