Start By Understanding

10 Jun 2020

I'm starting to see "your silence is complicity", so it's worth documenting why I'm not making a lot of noise on twitter. This describes my approach and my reasoning; I'm not prescribing anything for anyone else.

Everything I've read suggests that I should "start by understanding" - or, put more bluntly, "educate yourself". I'm doing that; I've kicked off a BLM book club and we're working our way through. There is a lot of ground to cover.

I'm taking more immediate actions also. I would normally keep quiet about them - nobody's handing out gold stars, and I'm not looking for any - but if silence is complicity, perhaps it's more useful to (briefly) talk. So far: donating what we can, a shift a week delivering food to the vulnerable (yup, started this a couple of months back and it's more COVID than BLM related, but still a way to help), and I've signed up to meet protestors as they're released from custody and help them get home (no shifts yet).

On physical protests: I've been out before and I will again, but my personal risk calculus is that this isn't the best way for me to help right now. Among other things, a large increase in my own covid exposure would mean that I'd need to stop volunteering, to protect the people we serve. I'm not a doctor and don't have an opinion about others' decisions on this.

Personally, I don't find social media posts a meaningful venue for conversation and understanding. Others may differ. The conversations I'm having, I'm having on private discord servers, on zoom calls, and (distanced) face-to-face.

I also feel that, starting from a position of relative privilege and without a lot of context yet (see: educate yourself), it's more important for me to listen than speak. I'll leave the public airtime for the people who know better and know more. I've heard that a "signal boost" is potentially helpful; in my network, that's likely to be preaching to the converted, but I'll make an exception for some retweets.

Obviously Black Lives Matter. I hope that some meaningful change will come out of this.