“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it speaks to distroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder the hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Spoken by a leader and a mentor who paved the way for many. It seemed appropriate right now to share this quote during a time violence has been at the forefront these past few weeks.
It may seem on several social channels that I have stayed relatively silent on this matter. I spoke out on twitter, got in a few twitter wars, and then decided that I needed to delete twitter and recalibrate.
I took time for silence. It seemed like no words could be the right words -because of course – interpretation versus intention can be skewed, and if you have something to say, ‘you might piss someone off’.
But it is important to not stay silent.
This post, I want to make myself clear- it is not about me.
I wanted to write this post in light of the current climate of what is going on in the world. The pain being witnessed and undressed during the 2020 time.
The Racism & Hate That Still Resides Within Communities
Over the course of this year I have been devastated to know that racism is still so apparent within the community that I live in, as well as communities beyond. Racism is such a sensitive topic- intention versus interpretation is a culprit with many online ‘fighting’ that I see (ahem, twitter).
The violence and division that continues towards human to human- there are no words that I can find right now to speak to this…so I found a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that would be much better in replace of any words that I had used over twitter.
Starting with COVID-19 there were already issues surrounding anti-asian commentary and brutality, of course I literally had to call out people on Facebook making blatantly racist statements as if it was acceptable behaviour. (PS I am half Asian).
During this time, I had also seen and shared a Facebook video post in which a fellow community member shared his own experiences on racism being a black male in a predominately white community- it was alarming for me to hear that this was still an experience for him, I had been ignorant to think that it was not still rampant within my very community of Kelowna, BC.
The Photo That Inspired This Post
Weeks after, this fellow- who I followed on social media because we share a passion for self-development and growth- he posted a photo- it was black and white photo taken possibly around the 1950’s, it was a photo of the most darling little black boy, so innocent- I remember his cute baby cheeks.
He sat inside what looked to be a bird cage, he was inside a cage. He could not have been older than 3 or 4.
Two white girls, perhaps only a couple years older stood on either side of the cage, holding it down.
They are all looking at the camera.
I also invite you to refer further to this website, because it depicts a much deeper reflection of that time and the prevalence of what would be considered as “human zoos”.
I looked at the photo with utter heartbreak. It haunted me and continues to hold vivid within my mind. I don’t have proper words to share, so, instead- I want to share a poem.
The Boy In The Cage
I cannot understand
but I want to.
I could not help.
but I yearned to.
It isn’t fair
so why is it.
Your innocence shackled
Your life stolen, taken
Before it could even begin.
This poem is dedicated with love, respect, and in tribute to the lives of all of those taken during the forgotten history of the human zoos.
And yes, strides have been made to where it is no longer permissible to put anyone in a cage- but we can’t just stop here. Lest we not forget. It was not that long ago.
I recognize that with a past so vile and layered, I can see how many can feel challenged to just “return to love” during this time.
I just want to listen. I want to sit with the stillness and I just want to remember the boy in the cage. I want to hold him in my heart and hug him. I want to show him he is loved.