A Message From an Angry Black Girl: I Won’t Forget

by Olivia Harden
Olivia Harden

It’s been a long, exhausting week for Black people.

The wound from Ahmaud Arbery’s lynching by retired cops is still fresh. This week George Floyd joined Breonna Taylor on the long, long list of names of Black people who’ve been murdered by the police. But in this same week, we also saw Amy Cooper weaponize her privilege by calling the police on Christian Cooper (no relation) and saying that an “African American man” was attacking her and her dog. Christian Cooper was bird-watching.

Tweets immediately labeled Amy Cooper as a Trump supporter, but she’s more likely a white liberal. In her apology, she says she’s “not a racist,” and her “entire life is being destroyed right now.” I don’t think so, Amy. You lost your job, your dog, and you’re banned from Central Park. But George Floyd is dead.

These two events happening so close together is very significant. And as I watch rebellions torch American cities to the ground, I see the various responses on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I have one message that I want to make very clear.

I won’t forget.

Are you a passive racist like Amy Cooper, who chose to use her white privilege for evil instead of good?

I won’t forget.

Are you preaching peaceful protest when the police violently murder Black people, then use tear gas, rubber bullets, and even live rounds to stop peaceful protesters before the rioting and looting even starts? Are you paying attention to see that many white people are the first to incite riots?

I won’t forget.

Are you using a watered-down version of Martin Luther King’s memory to discredit the pain of Black Americans?

I won’t forget.

Are you weaponizing COVID-19 to vilify protesters? Are you only okay with protesting when it’s in favor of high school graduations in the middle of a pandemic? Are you comfortable watching white men storm capitol steps with giant guns because they can’t get a haircut?

I won’t forget.

Are you posting cute bikini photos and selfies all while being deafeningly silent about the human rights atrocities that continue to take place?

I won’t forget.

Did you text any of your Black friends just to check up on them and send love?

I won’t forget.

Did you sign a petition, donate any money, make any phone calls, and/or show up on the front lines to support the movement? Or are you just posting on social media to be on the wave? This is called performative activism.

I won’t forget.

Are you able to tweet about your outrage, but you can’t tell your boyfriend or your friends that they can’t say the n-word when their favorite rap song comes on?

I won’t forget.

Were you asking a Black person for resources before — or after you did some research on your own?

I won’t forget.

Are you only able to check grandma on Facebook but not at Thanksgiving dinner? Are you willing to check her at all?

I won’t forget.

Are you using trigger and content warnings to protect Black folks who don’t want to watch George Floyd die on camera?

I won’t forget.

Do you think or say, “Well, not all cops…“

I won’t forget.

Do you think merchandise at Target is more important than Black lives?

I won’t forget.

Do you say you’re not a racist but say “All lives matter?”

I won’t forget.

My condolences to the families of the victims. I wish your loved ones were still here, breathing with us. Black lives matter. I want to thank the genuine allies who are joining us in this fight. We need you. We cannot win this fight alone.

I also want to challenge everyone to ask themselves, “Am I doing enough? Am I going to be on the right side of history?”

Because rest assured, I will remember.

In solidarity,
Olivia Harden

 


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