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Take a knee; what are you fighting for?🔷

Anyone who hasn’t been sleeping under a rock for the past couple of years will be painfully aware of the name Trump and the anger and hatred it carries around. We all love to hate the man that Americans call president as well as those who follow him.


We are quick to chastise his rhetoric and condemn the narratives that he and his supporters throw our way, and we are unforgiving of anyone who attempts to divert us from our firm stance against him.

Even more, our activism has not been limited to one country but is worldwide. In England, many fought (in a modern sense) aggressively against the proposal to exit the EU. The Turkish referendum was a focus for most of us. Our hearts bled for the refugees of Syria, and we have been exhausted with the West’s invasion of the Middle East as well as its mockery of African nations.

We have been protesting, writing and speaking and it just feels like we are not being heard, but instead mainstream narratives love to treat our demands for equality of opportunity like a hatred of society.

Los Angeles March for Immigrant Rights, 11 September 2017.
(Flickr / Molly Adams)

They argue against us in whichever way is convenient. Some days we are war hungry anarchists, as opposed to desperate victims of the state, and others we are snowflake millennials who don’t understand the complexities of the world.

More and more we watch the straightforward narratives proposed by individuals with the platform to do so and see it get twisted as some sort of vendetta against everyone else by the mainstream media.

Worse of all, it really seems like barely anything is changing. England voted to Brexit and until this day many argue that this was more of an economic decision than an obviously xenophobic and racist one.

Trump was elected, and like the decision of the British to leave the EU, many want to argue that this choice was made more because he was a ‘good’ candidate and a ‘good’ president than because of his racist, sexist and xenophobic narratives.

Also, Erdogan got the result he desired; there are still many struggling refugees who are being rejected (at least in social narratives) by nations, and last but not least, the Middle East is still being bothered by the West while Trump simultaneously creates a country he calls ‘Nambia’.

At this point we have to ask ourselves what we are doing wrong as activists. How are we still in a position where the Ku Klux Klan and friends can receive more praise from the president of the United States than peaceful protesters of police brutality?

It is the opinion of many that we are not aggressive enough, these people posit that “they already think we are monsters so why don’t we become that which they fear.”

My response to that is simple, if you use fear as an instrument to make a change, the result will only be a tipping of the scales. So before you decide to make that choice, you need to make up your mind about what your end goal is. Do you want equality or do you want to be the one at the top?

Los Angeles March for Immigrant Rights, 11 September 2017.
(Flickr / Molly Adams)

Others argue that we need to use more care, force compassion out of those who oppress the weak. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous idea as a person with the power to make life good for everyone around him/her who instead chooses to use this power to create an oppressed minority, will never understand the concept of compassion.

So what is the solution then, when neither fear nor compassion are an option?

It’s actually really straightforward, and it is an option we all choose to ignore. Stop making activism a thing you do only when it affects you.

Let’s be honest, people like Trump get to power through divisiveness and recently, even before the campaign and the election, our societies have been extremely divided.

We only seem to care about things that most people care about or things that affect us directly.

We call it activism but, realistically, we are quite passive in our discussions about right or wrong.

It's understandable, the world is a difficult place, and we don’t want to lose opportunities because we were too vocal about our feelings concerning the treatment of a group when that group really isn’t doing anything for us.

The downside to acting with that attitude is that those in power will take advantage of any kind of hesitation and then write off your complaints when it’s your turn to deal with the pain of being a minority in a certain conversation.

A clear example of this occurring is with Colin Kaepernick. A year or so ago, he took a knee in protest of police brutality, and he lost his job for it. Now, hundreds of footballers and owners worldwide have decided to do a follow-up kneeling for the same reason, most of which had supported Trump in the past as well as criticised Colin.

Of course, it is wonderful that this happened, and it sends a powerful message now, but it would have had the same impact when the oppressors were calling for Kaepernick’s sacking.

Also, consider the fact that they are kneeling now, but Colin Kaepernick’s job has not been returned to him (Maybe he doesn’t want it back, I don’t know, but the point still stands).

Pharaoh exhibit - Cleveland Museum of Art.
(Flickr / Tim Evanson)

Now, Trump’s cheerleaders are having a field day with the act, calling these hardworking wealthy men ‘disrespectful millennials’ and even throwing Stevie Wonder’s renowned self into the mix as an ‘ungrateful black multimillionaire’ which on a side note; Who on earth is he supposed to be grateful to? Excuse me?

The point is, our activism has more weight when we are actually as opposed to, selectively united.

Think about it. Did you realistically care about the EU referendum or the Turkish referendum? Would you accept a refugee and their family into your home if the state asked you to do so? When did you start caring about Trump during the election, was it when he said his very first set of offensive words or was it when he said offensive things about a group of people you fall under or have close relationships with?

We have more work to do about the education of our societies for the sake of future generations. We all desire change, equality, justice and freedom in particular and it is up to us to push for this because those who already benefit from the way society is structured will not be compelled to do it if they don’t have to.

Making a choice to fight for what is right for superficial reasons or only when you are directly affected is just going to hurt the war against inequality. Stop being silent because you can’t be bothered to be involved and only getting involved when you have no choice but to be bothered.

Those on the wrong side of history are never afraid to be vocal, so why are you?🔷


(Cover: Photograph by Flickr / Keith Allison - Washington Redskins teammates during the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at FedExField, Landover, Maryland, 24 September 2017.)


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20 | Graduate ~ Philosophy & Politics || Aspiring Screenwriter/Producer • Available for online freelance work. Passionate about writing to help people understand themselves & the society around them.
Bristol, UK Website