- Tim Wheaton
Black Lives Matter. If you can’t say that, or can’t agree with it: this just may not be the episode for you.
I paused while typing these show notes right after those 2 sentences there. Like I was standing at a 4-way intersection, deciding which path to take. Do I go for simplicity and a bereft approach (unlike the actual episode itself) and just leave those sentences as the entirety of the notes? That would feel “cool” to do… kind of like a big mic drop. But, not a smart SEO move, right? Also, it would feel like I’m saying very demonstratively: “I’m right. Period. If you disagree, go suck an egg!” Which, A: I could say. It’s my podcast. And, B: I mean… if we’re being real, I completely do not understand if you can’t agree with this idea. That Black lives matter.
If you’re thrown off by my usage of the “Black Lives Matter” symbol and going to go down the road of theories behind the actual #BlackLivesMatter movement and what do they do with their finances and are they holding hands behind their own backs with this or that political side… whatever road you may go down just by seeing that phrase… don’t get distracted. Don’t get triggered. This is not about that. This episode and my conversation are not about that. This is about whether or not Black lives ‘matter’. The answer should include no hesitation from any of us. It should be the easiest and unrelenting “YES”.
I know it’s not that simple for some. Not that cut and dry. And, in ways, it isn’t. Because of where we are as a nation, as humans… there is undeniably a lot more to that. But, if we can all just get to the place where we agree on that one point: that’s the first step. It’s completely asinine to me that we even have to talk about that first step. Mind-boggling, upsetting… there are a lot of words to describe that for me. But, again… here we are.
So, this episode evolved from what started as a single tweet. After talking briefly with a friend/co-worker of mine about the documentary you can see on Netflix called 13th. This was written, produced, and directed by the great Ava DuVernay and it should absolutely be required viewing. Anyway, I was asked if I had seen it and that prompted me to literally have to pull over my car for a moment due to the emotions it stirred up for me. (Every single time I think or talk about this set of moments, my eyes start stinging with the onset of tears all over again.)
I typed a tweet as I was pulled over and saved it in my drafts folder. Later that night, I decided I would make that one tweet a multiple tweet thread instead. I started typing it in Twitter directly and got to about 6 tweets before I copied and pasted it all into my Notes app on my iPhone to rethink my format. Early that next morning, around 2:30 am, I woke up and could not keep myself from immediately thinking about what I had begun to write. So, I sat up and typed with my two thumbs into my phone for the next nearly 2 hours.
That became something I read in the middle of this podcast episode, and I will paste it below here in just a bit, as well. It included a lot of my minute-by-minute self-reflection and a lot of the things I had learned to that day on the issue of race and Black lives and racial equity. I took a very real look at myself in that writing, too. I talked about the acknowledgment of my white privilege and what that meant to me. Imagining my adult Black friends as kids, made me think back on my own childhood as a boy who was born white in the ’70s and how that affected me (even in ways I never would have known at that time).
Let me just put that dialogue for you in its entirety right here for you:
A friend of mine just texted and asked me if I have watched 13th on Netflix yet? I told her my history of watching it, how much it affected me the first time I saw it and then I just started to cry. I fully recognize how emotional the subject of racism makes me, a lot of…
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