Blackout Tuesday

The Powers That Be within the greater Viacom-CBS family declared that today would be a day on which they observed a blackout in recognition of the protests taking place for the Black Lives Matter movement. This declaration extended to Paramount Animation, so our production went dormant for a day to give us time to consider ways in which we could work to affect changes to the systems that treat people of color so unjustly.

Although I fully support the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement, I didn’t feel that my presence at any of these demonstrations would amount to anything more than activism tourism. And as a Nice White Lady, I presume that my voice is not one that needed to be heard at the moment. Instead, I decided to step back from social media for the day and to use my unanticipated free time to consider ways in which I could be helpful without trying to make this All About Me.

To gather my thoughts, I sat for several hours writing letters to my youngest nieces and nephews: the ones who are living through these times as infants and toddlers and who will someday learn about These Times only through the stories told by the victors. Although I fully believe that justice will ultimately prevail, it feels important to me to record the sense that in this moment that victory is not assured, and that America feels like it is poised to change in ways that it will never be able to step back from.

As I wrote, I began to lay out a plan: first to educate myself on the parts of history that I was not taught in school and did not gain through lived experience. My first goal is to read every book recommended on the Anti-Racist Reading List, and from there to find additional resources to pursue.

My second goal is to work on actively seeking out work by artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians of color to help amplify their voices. Right now, my philosophy towards social media is to share and re-share anything that catches my eye and delights my mind in some way. I don’t intend for this philosophy to change, only that I intend to put extra work into the seeking out of creatives of color to expand my own mental borders and, with luck, introduce others to their work as well.

And my third goal is to take an active, personal interest in the well-being of my friends of color. I can’t defeat the whole of racism by myself, but I can be sure to open doors to as many people that I know and admire as possible: to support their work and their successes and to seek them out as collaborators.

These are humble goals. I don’t believe they will solve everything, but if I can help balance the scales and level the playing field for a few people in a few meaningful ways then it is something. And that’s better than doing nothing.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 2, 2020.

One Response to “Blackout Tuesday”

  1. I am not sure you fully support anything. 😛 [When you say your presence would serve no purpose…what purpose do those you support serve, then?]

    So, your goal is to go out and make more friends “of color.” 😛 Hey, black person over there! Let’s be friends; my Fbook quota needs to be reached. I gotta get my miles by making smiles.

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