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  • Mei Anne Foo

#Hashtag: Black Lives Matter

Confession #1: I wasn't going to say anything.

Until I saw this post by Tim of Switchfoot.

It is uncomfortable. Our human conversations, even when talking about trivial stuff, are clumsy. And honestly, I don't want to say anything for fear of offending anyone.

Right now, if you say all lives matter, you're making it about you. I see where that is coming from, I really do. And I respect that point of view. But then, don't you make it about you even when you say something about black lives matter? The spotlight often shines on (or the microphone points to) the person who carries or gives the message. We're all shining the spotlight on ourselves right now, especially when we want to get our points across, regardless of "the point."

And that's why I didn't want to say anything. It's awkward. This spotlight shouldn't be shining on me. But you know what, it is. Because I'm talking about it.

Still, you want to know what I can say without one ounce of fear? I am really angry for what happened to George Floyd and the many others. And I see how anger can quickly turn into rage. We should all cry for justice, loud and long, marching with and for the victims of oppression and racial discrimination.

But hey, can we also sit at all the tables? Because Nichole Nordeman reminded me that Jesus sits and eats with everyone. Everyone. This includes Samantha Katie James, the Miss Universe Malaysia 2017 title holder currently making unnecessary headlines for her insensitive comments about African Americans. Just sit with her. It's going to be uncomfortable, ultra-clumsy and so awkward, but those brave enough, and rational enough, can indeed shine the spotlight on themselves to make a difference in her life and countless others like her, by getting their loving points across.

I've learnt that convenience is no longer an option, especially in 2020. Tolerance, even more so. I actually despise the word "tolerance", partly because it was used so often in Malaysian propaganda for racial harmony (i.e. "Look at us: We're such a tolerant society, yippie!"). But when you say you tolerate something; you often don't go further by understanding it. So yes, don't tolerate this but try to understand by continuing to have honest discussions—no matter how hard. #StaySafe #BetterTogether #BlackLivesMatter

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