As I sit down to write this, I’m still not exactly sure what I want to say or how I’m going to say it, but I need to say some things.
With everything that’s happened since the murder of George Floyd (and certainly not to treat anyone lightly that came before him in similar situations), racism in the United States has become – once again – front and center in the minds of many Americans, as well as in the minds of people all over the world. This man was outright murdered by police, and hopefully they will be brought to justice. When this situation and everything it sparked started to dominate the news cycle, my initial stance was “all lives matter”. This made sense to me, because everyone should be treated the same, no matter the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your gender or your gender identity … anything. But as it turns out, I was so wrong about this, and my position has changed.
This change came from an interview I saw with Keegan-Michael Key, where he explained what the difference is and why Black lives do matter more (emphasis mine):
“[It’s] like saying the fire department should spray down all houses in a neighborhood even if only one house is on fire because all the houses matter. And yes, your house does matter 100 percent, but your house is not on fire.”
This made me realize that Black lives do in fact matter more than any other, because theirs are treated far worse than any other in this country, and have been for almost 200 years. While we have the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, they have obviously not stopped the systematic mistreatment of Blacks everywhere.
I remember seeing a tweet the other day that showed pictures of three individuals from the same town that had committed the same crime. Two of the men were white, and one was Black. All three were fined. One of the white men was fined $100, and the other $200. But the Black man was fined $500 for the same crime the white men committed. This is exactly the type of thing that needs to stop. Racism needs to stop.
Even though I don’t remember all the details of what happened on that day, I have experienced racism first hand, and I have never forgotten it, even if some of the details have escaped me in the 40+ years since it happened.
Back in the mid 70’s (I was a preteen at this time), my dad was in the Air Force, stationed in Georgia. He regularly participated in intramural softball on base, as well as the teams he played on participating in off-base tournaments around Georgia on weekends. One weekend, we were traveling to a tournament in southern Georgia and we had arrived at the town where the tournament was taking place. With it being around mid-day, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. As we all sat down, a server came over to our table and said something to the effect of “we don’t serve your kind here,” looking at one of the Black members of the team (I don’t remember how many there were on the team). Everyone just looked at each other. Rather than getting into an argument or causing a scene, after a moment or two everyone just got up and left, didn’t say a word, and we went somewhere else to eat.
Obviously not knowing what was going on, my dad had to explain it to me later. I had never seen anyone treated like this before, and I honestly don’t remember how I processed it back then. But as I got older and truly understood, the sense of anger and frustration began to resonate. There is absolutely no way one human being should ever treat another that way just because of the color of their skin. I had always known these men on my dad’s team as Mr. Jones or Sergeant Smith, etc. The thought they were anything different from my own dad or their teammates never even occurred to me.
There is something each of us can do, in our own way, to help in the fight or to bring awareness to others that may need some guidance. Whether it’s monetary donations, attending peaceful rallies and protests, saying “I’m sorry, and I’m with you” to a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, the person that bags your groceries or takes your deposit at the bank – there’s something everyone can do. And if you feel your local politicians aren’t supporting the Black community the way they should be, register to vote and vote in November to have them replaced.
So, in order to show my support for the Black community, I will be doing the following:
- I have made a $250 personal donation to Color of Change, through Tiltify. They can be found at https://colorofchange.org, and they design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. My donation is going through a fundraiser for my friend and fellow Twitch streamer Izzy Leo Hill. You can find her fundraiser at https://tiltify.com/@izzyhill/blm-to-izzy.
- For the entire month of June (retroactively), all donations made to my Twitch channel, as well as all new subscriptions, gift subscriptions, and re-subscriptions will be matched by myself, dollar-for-dollar, and will be totaled for an additional donation at the end of the month to also be made to Color of Change. You can find my channel at https://www.twitch.tv/theicemancometh360.
- All of the screens during my streams from June 6th to 13th will be shown in black-and-white, and will include the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Also, instead of the normal EDM I play during my breaks on Friday and Saturday nights, I will be playing excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech during this time period.
This has been going on for far too long in this country, and we have to fix it. And the only way we can do this is to stand up for what’s right, and to stand up for those that have been wronged for far too long. And we have to do it together.
We have to DO better. Together.
We have to BE better. Together.
End of story.