This week’s post was going to be a happy column about how this weekend’s reopenings of both Gatorland and LEGOLAND Florida (Winter Haven) and next week’s openings of Universal and the just announced reopenings of SeaWorld Orlando/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Walt Disney World Resort (in phases) meant that live in Central Florida is slowly returning to normal.
Well, it’s not.
The virus remains as dangerous as ever, but so does being a person of color in the United States. Yes, I’ve been the victim of both racial and homophobic discrimination (including assault and property damage) both in Florida and Maryland, but the difference is I’m actually able to type this, George Floyd is not. Neither is Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice or even Freddie Gray.
Sure, I could go into detail about being harassed for doing as little as they did, but having my camera ripped away from me and taunted as it’s broken in front of me is considerably different than being held against the ground with a knee to the throat and dying of asphyxiation as three other officers hold him down. To even compare the two experiences is an insult to the memories of all the victims of needless police violence.
So would equally vapid, ineffective forms of “solidarity” I’ve seen online like changing my profile photo for the day or posting some memes with a viral hashtag. It didn’t heal Paris, and it’s not rebuilding Minneapolis. Such lazy, feel good activism doesn’t do anyone any good.
However, with the massive crowds of people protesting in the street across the country – and around the world – there are now fears of spreading the virus that has kept these same people inside for the past two months, maybe lazy, ineffective means of protest aren’t all bad.
Yes, waving signs in a public place is a perfectly valid form of communication… but so is staying at home and typing from the safety of my sofa. The parks will open whether I’m there to cover them or not…