Listening

I discovered the Green brothers when I was studying for the CSET. They make some really amazing science and history videos on their Crash Course YouTube channel. I started to follow their Vlogbrothers Channel shortly afterwards because I like listening to them speak. This morning, Hank uploaded a pretty short, but insightful video called “On Lives and Mattering”. His call to action was basically to take some time to listen without responding. Just listen. 

In his video, Hank mentioned a playlist that John made on Racism and Race. It’s about 2 hours and 35 minutes. It’s long, but I’ve decided to watch it. I’m only a few videos in, so I can’t comment on everything I’ve seen, but so far the two ideas that make the biggest impact to me are:

  1. When we watch speeches from decades ago from the Civil Rights Movement, how sad is it that the problems they discuss are still relevant today? Why is it that their calls for change have gone unanswered for so long? We love to think that the Civil Rights Movement is a thing of the past, but have we really solved these problems?
  2. When people say “Black Lives Matter”, they aren’t putting their needs over anyone else’s. There are many issues in the world that need to change. However, when people say “Black Lives Matter”, they are asking for help. When people protest, they are desperately pleading for us to truly listen to what they are trying to say. Remember that protesting is not their first choice and it’s not even the first thing they’ve tried. The protests we’re seeing are just the most recent in a long history of advocating for change. When you think, “Why do they have to protest. Cant’t they just…[insert simple solution here]?” Maybe consider that they’ve already tried it. Maybe they’ve tried it time and time again with no change.

Sometimes, we get tired of hearing the same words repeated on a loop. When this happens, I feel we need to ask ourselves why they keep repeating. If they were really heard, would they need to say it again? The issues we face are not the victims’ faults. If it was as easy as, “keep quiet and do what you’re told”, don’t you think they’d already be doing that? It is so easy to live in ignorance when you are lucky enough to not personally experience some social issues. That doesn’t mean the issues don’t exist.

Yes, 2 hours and 35 minutes is a long time, but I will watch every second. Why? Because the least I can do is listen.

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