It’s not until you hear about your personal black friend getting pulled over by the cops dozens of times without speeding or another getting stopped at the mall for minding his own business that you understand, it’s not just dozens of murders a year. It’s thousands and thousands of cases of frisking and harassment and behavior that make black Americans feel less than human.
We need to hear those stories. Instead, we’re getting a bunch of white folks posting black squares on Instagram and crowding out the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with their own performative professions of white guilt and cringeworthy virtue signaling.
And it’s not just a shame. It could be a crucial opportunity cost sabotaging the real momentum we finally have in addressing racism. Consider, nearly seven in ten Americans recognize that the killing of George Floyd was a sign of broader problems in treatment of black Americans by police, including almost half of all Republicans. The time for sweeping police reform is now. No matter how much party leaders wish to politicize this moment, the people are mostly united on the need for a reckoning. But rather than constructing a movement to elevate the lived experiences of black American, get the rest of us to listen, and get all of us on board to focus on real solutions, petrified corporations and brain dead celebrities are drowning out the potential for a movement with black squares and hackneyed statements.