Snippet: Your Silence is a Knee on My Neck ☍

Shared on June 1, 2020

Natasha Cloud for The Players’ Tribune:

That’s what’s so scary about it to me. That’s what’s so crazy about it, and so frustrating. And if I’m being honest, that’s what pisses me off. Because it’s like — those racist cops who keep killing us? There’s way too many of them, that’s for sure. But we’re going to keep on speaking out, keep on shining a light at their behavior… and eventually we’re going to get them the hell out of the paint. Relatively speaking, that one’s easy. But you know what’s not as easy?? You know what’s harder to shine a light on? The millions of people who are helping to protect those racist cops, and who are helping to insulate those in power, by staying “neutral.” That right there is what’s exhausting to me. It’s all the people who think that — in 2020!! — they can still somehow just politely opt out of this shit.

And those are the people who I wanted to write this for.

Because those are the people with the ability to really change things. And to me the first step in getting those people to change their behavior — it’s getting them to understand the meaning of their behavior. It’s getting them to see that this “both sides” wave they think they’re riding… it doesn’t exist. It never existed, of course — but especially not now. Not in this moment. Not with these deaths so fresh and so raw.

I’m writing this because I have a platform. It may not be the biggest platform in the world… but it’s bigger than a lot of people have. It’s what I’ve got. And the only thing I feel like using that platform for right now is to send a message to the so-called “neutral” people out there. It’s to tell them that we’re changing up the definitions of some of these words they’ve been hiding behind.

It’s to tell them that “seeing both sides” means having blood on their hands – and “opting out” means leaving innocent people to die.

It’s to tell them that neutrality about black lives might as well be murder.

It’s to tell them that their silence is the knee on George Floyd’s neck.

This time of year, I’m usually paying close attention to the final weeks of the NBA season and the start of the WNBA season. Obviously, due to the pandemic, both have been suspended. However, many players have been taking to social media to share their thoughts, frustrations, concerns, and it’s hard not to feel any sort of empathy and agreement along with everything else playing out—people you know of talking about it makes things more real. One of the things I can do is try to amplify those voices in my own small way.

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