I scroll through my Facebook feed, and I see so much blame:
“If you say ‘all lives matter’ you are part of the problem.”
“To my police friend: ‘You are part of the problem.'”
“If you support peaceful protest, you are the problem.”
#youaretheproblem is its own hashtag.
I stare at the screen, yearning to respond to tragedy after tragedy but feeling paralyzed by the blame and the vitriol and the animosity. I’m scared that whatever I say will cause more divisiveness. I want to add my voice to the chorus screaming “black lives matter” because yes, yes, yes, this movement is so important. And I dream of saying to my friends whose husbands, fathers, sisters, are police officers: “I see you, and I know you, too, fear for your loved ones’ safety.” But instead, too often I remain silent, because I don’t want to appear as though I’m choosing sides. And I feel shame wash over me because I know better. I’m a social worker, and what’s more, I’ve seen the Facebook memes — inaction is action.
So today, I will hoist off the cloak of that shame by trying to tangibly be a part of the solution. I will donate to a cause I believe in. I will teach my sons about equality and social justice. I will help my neighbor and my neighbor’s neighbor. I will let my actions speak louder than my Facebook rants. I will hope the people in my life know that I am trying. I will choose to believe the same of others. Together, perhaps, we can realize that though we may sometimes say the wrong thing, few are trying to be part of the problem. In cultivating an attitude of grace, perhaps we can have respectful conversations with one another about how we interpret each others’ words and actions instead of pointing fingers and taking sides and drawing battle lines.
I’m scared of the battle lines.
I want my children to grow up in a world where we can reach across those lines and find solutions together.
A quick Facebook search tells me 85,185 people are talking about #youaretheproblem. BUT… 86,716 are talking about #bethesolution. So there’s that. However slim the margin, perhaps at this moment there are more of us trying to #bethesolution. Thank you all for that.