This post has been adapted from a Facebook post by Mennah El-Gammal.
Since the terrorist attacks against two mosques in Christchurch, my social media feed has been mostly Muslims, people of color, and people of other marginalized faiths who have been talking to each other and consoling one another. The media has talked about the attacks, but the selective outrage from regular people is not missed. We see who shows up. We see who speaks out. And while that silence isn’t surprising, it’s deafening, and it’s disappointing.
We see who likes and comments and posts. The fact that 90 percent of those people are people who fit the demographics I mentioned above is hard to see, because I’m not talking to them. I’m not trying to reach them. That’s preaching to the choir. I’m trying to reach the rest of us who aren’t of these communities. That isn’t to say a like or a status or a filter is the epitome of activism. I’ve never considered social media engagement to be the threshold for someone’s values.
But it is very telling, when everyone was up in arms about “Je Suis Charlie” and not Christchurch. Or Charlottesville. Or Pittsburgh. A moment of serious introspection and self-accountability is needed to reconcile why as a society, we collectively grieve at acts of terrorism for victims who are majority white and majority Western, yet stay sad but silent for others who don’t fit that demographic.
The selective outrage, the moralistic platitudes, the hypocrisy, the pivoting to more comfortable conversations — I’m so, so tired of it. Most everyone who comes from the communities I mentioned are too, though they won’t always say it. Because we’re grieving. We’re mourning. And making efforts to include that selective outrage — to try and prove that we’re “worthy” of it — is exhausting.
I need people to understand that. I need people to understand that pain, and do more — more than Facebook likes, more than comments, more than filters, but the real, difficult, honest conversations about the white supremacy that is killing us all. I need people to admit they haven’t done enough, accept that conversation with themselves, and ask themselves what they have done. And then do more.
I’m not scared. But I’m in such pain, and it’s exacerbated by every person who claims to be a liberal, or any ally, but fails to show up, or speak out, or check in with consistency. Still, I’m taking solace in community, in friends, and mostly, in God. If you don’t know where to start, ask. Find the sharp points, and lean in. But don’t be surprised when people are hesitant to trust because as the saying goes — real recognizes real. We’re not taking the hypocrisy or selective outrage anymore. We’re not taking the sad silence anymore. We see right through it. And we’re tired.
A reminder to myself to practice self-accountability before anyone else. Allah yerham amwaatina.