Know Your Intention

More Black lives have been taken by police. The Revolution has started. Voices are so loud that people have to listen. Change is on the horizon. Change is happening.

All over the world – literally – people have been protesting the brutal attacks on Black people because Black Lives Matter. People are educating themselves on America’s racist history. They are learning how fucked up our systems are and speaking up. Hard conversations are taking place with family members, friends, and ourselves.

If you are one of the people doing any one of these things. Ask yourself why. What drives you? What is your intention?

I bring this up because on Pod Save the People’s June 2nd episode (“Keep the Fight”) there was a really interesting distinction. Brittany Packnett, activist and co-host, explained the difference between charity and solidarity. Brittany explained it mostly in terms of people protesting, but I believe it can be applied to whatever it is you might be doing during this time.

Charity, as Brittany, explains is “feeding the hungry.” The example she uses is making sandwiches and passing them out to people who are hungry. However, solidarity is concerning yourself with WHY the people were hungry in the first place, and following the lead of those people and working with them to organize.

Expanding on this, I see charity as something people do to feel better about themselves, to feel like they did something morally good. Like giving a donation. Solidarity is the nitty gritty. It’s the examination of the problem, taking a backseat to support and uplift those most affected, and fighting alongside them, or even fight for them when they need to rest.

Are you buying books, following BIPOC, hashtagging all your posts because you want the world to see that you are a good person and care? Or are you putting in the effort in whatever form is calling you, listening openly to the lived experiences of BIPOC, examining your biases, speaking out, throwing your fist in the air because you are actually concerned with what is happening, what has happened, and what could happen? Do you actually care about the lives of Black individuals and the Black community? Do you really want to change systems based on racism and white supremacy?

Figure out what your intention is for your actions. If it’s for appearances, then I’m going to tell you to get the fuck out because your actions aren’t going to help anyone. In some ways your actions could cause more harm. If your intention is for actual change, then keep up your efforts. Know you will mess up, but this is a learning process and an unlearning process for so, so many of us.