I've been trying to find the right words over the last week or so. My heart is hurting and I finally decided that I just had to put something in writing. Silence is no longer an option.
I was working on writing some blogs about baseball owners and how their greediness is irreparably harming their product, basketball's return to play, etc., but the world is literally on fire right now and it's hard to really think of anything else. Our network of podcasts here at Pwns, as well as our budding website, are often a way for me to turn my brain off and have some fun for a bit with my friends, but today I chose to utilize this medium, as small as it might be, to get some thoughts out. And here they are:
My name is Mark Piselli. I am a 29 year old Caucasian male. I come from a loving family with parents who always provided for me growing up. As such, I am the living embodiment of white privilege. I have never known struggle or hardship in my entire life, nor will I ever. No one will ever glance at me as I walk down the street and perceive me as a threat, nor will they change the way they act around me, based on the way that I look. Many of you reading this right now are probably in this same boat; you don't live your life in constant fear or even in general discomfort because you've never had a reason to.
But this isn't the case for a lot of people, as has become painfully evident over the past several days, but should have been evident to many of us long before this. Make no mistake, the killing of George Floyd is just the latest name added to an ever growing list of people who have had their lives taken from them for no reason other than the color of their skin. And even when the result isn't as extreme as death, there are people being discriminated against each and every day in this country based on how they look, or, more accurately, because someone else has decided that how they look makes them worthy of being looked down upon. That very concept just makes my head spin. How does one's mind work that way? How can you possibly look at other human beings and think yourself above them? That they don't deserve to be your equal? This is literally a prehistoric, medieval, primitive, disgusting mindset that I feel fortunate to have never exhibited in my life. I was raised better than that.
But even if I've never felt that way, even if I've never stooped so low as to treat someone as if their life somehow means less than mine because of the color of their skin, my good intentions mean nothing if I sit idly by while this type of vile discrimination continues to fester. It shouldn't have taken this much for me to realize that, which is a damn shame. While I've long known that white privilege exists and that I've been a beneficiary of it, I'd be lying if I said that I've made a point to use that privilege to help the black community. That has to end now for all of us - there can be no more standing on the sidelines because there are literal lives at stake. We failed to help George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others just like them because we didn't take a stand; that's heartbreaking to think about.
We can no longer afford to see news of more black men, women or children losing their lives at the hands of those entrusted to protect them, feel bad for a minute or two and then keep scrolling our Twitter feeds. And even when it's not a matter of life or death, we can no longer afford to stay quiet when we see our black brothers and sisters constantly discriminated against by a system that was designed to keep them down. It's time to join the fight - to speak up when we see hatred and bigotry, to use our voices to amplify those which are constantly being silenced. To listen - and never presume to know how others are feeling.
From here on out, it's time for me and anyone else who benefits from white privilege to become comfortable being uncomfortable. By that, I mean it's no longer okay to just ignore racism and bigotry around us and thinking that our silence is acceptable because those words or behaviors aren't coming from us. Rather, our silence and inaction has been enabling intolerance for hundreds of years. It's time to call out this behavior, no matter who it comes from. Don't enable your racist uncle at Thanksgiving anymore but changing the subject. Stop letting the occasional "questionable" comment from your buddies go by unchecked. Hold the people in charge of serving and protecting accountable for their actions. It's time to show our brothers and sisters in the black community that we love and support them, that we'll start putting our money where our mouth is. Enough is enough.
Black Lives Matter. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day.