In talking with a group of amazing activists recently we collectively noted a phenomenon I have dubbed “Operation Isolation” (This topic is also discussed on the most recent Ferguson Response Podcast.)
Operation Isolation is defined as the severe & sudden lack of communication, contact & interaction between activists/organizers within the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and their “friends” in the real world. What used to be robust communication with invitations to lunch, movie nights & just “hey what’s going on” text messages have devolved into a deafening SILENCE on the part of those we all used to consider friends and family.
If you have a friend in the BLM movement who you have been distant with or felt uncomfortable around, THIS BLOG POST IS FOR YOU!
Please take a minute to think how they have been feeling. Iced out & isolated from people who just a few months ago were a robust part of their lives. Imagine the feeling of the silent phone, the empty email inbox. The thought that comes with those feelings is that these people you love, never really loved you at all. It is a horrible feeling and it has made us all feel the sacrifice of this work to the fullest.
BUT, I have faith in you, our non-movement active friends. I have faith that you can read this post and remember that person who loved dry martini’s, or who always talked you into getting the crazy blue nail polish at the salon, or the one who liked to sneak into the next movie so you could spend a little more time together laughing in the dark or the one whose name was the first one your daughter learned.
I have asked a few of my own friends why they seem so silent when I post things about my fight for justice, but the minute I post a selfie in front of the art museum or a cute photo of my dogs, here come the likes, the comments, the interaction? After some slightly awkward “ums” & “what do you means” a few similar responses were expressed:
- “I don’t know what to say”
- “It gets tiring to read all of that constantly”
- “You seem like a different person now”
- “It seems like that’s all you post now”
I’m pretty good at taking constructive criticism, and thought a lot of about those general answers – so let’s talk about them here: