Action is Louder Than Words
The world is in turmoil right now, and my brain is too. My position in society as a cis-gendered upper middle class straight woman has never felt more privileged. As the world reflects on the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, my biggest struggle is figuring out how best to be an ally and ensure my anti-racism remains at the forefront.
I've rarely been one to shy away from confrontation, so in the presence of clear racism I do have a tendency to say something, even if flippantly knowing that the receiver might not get the message or that further conversation is unlikely to take place. Generally I just want to make sure my position on the subject is known so that someone can stop engaging in conversation with me about something I very clearly do not agree with. And if my explanation of why I don't agree gives added information that makes them reflect on why they think the way they do - fantastic. If it doesn't - then at least I can live with myself.
But in this age of social media the concept of change, allyship, and confrontation seems ... different? I often like to say that I use social media for the reason I thought it was intended: to connect with friends and family that are far away. Obviously we've all known the potential for social media to enact change and influence for a long time, but certainly in these past couple of weeks it has very much been that place of learning and acting and sharing and teaching and listening, and vocalizing. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to realize the bubble I've been living in and how complacent I have been to deep-rooted systemic problems.
I understand now more than ever why some people choose to not engage with social media. Countless celebrities for instance - namely Keanu! It can be a fantastic place of connection and love and engagement, but it can also be a place of vitriol and anger and hate. What's happening now is important, and requires action. I also think action can happen behind the scenes, and Keanu is a perfect example of that.
We now know of all of the incredible good that Keanu has done for children's charities, for his fellow colleagues, for random travellers. Is it because HE told us? No! It's because his charitable deeds were discovered and then shared. Keanu acts and then let's his actions be his voice!
Now I'm sure there are some feelings as to whether Keanu and other quiet celebrities who clearly have a following should be speaking up more and using their influence for the greater good. However, I'm going to take a possibly unpopular stance in this case and say that those individuals have some right to do as they will. In the case of Keanu - I'd rather he continue to live out his beliefs quietly through his actions than suddenly start vocalizing his opinions on stances he's generally kept quiet about.
Obviously there's lots to think about, but I do believe that there's much to take from Keanu's influence. Do the work! Let your actions speak! Take the time to listen in your quiet. What you hear in that quiet might just guide your next big move.