You are part of the problem

Charlie Gstalder is a Sophomore English and Philosophy double major from West Chester, New York. He is the Op-Ed Editor for the Newswire.

I debated writing a piece focusing on the human rights violations police officers are committing by attacking the press, but doing so would make me part of the problem. Black Americans are being murdered, lynched, entrapped, silenced, threatened and persecuted every single day. Discussing anything else right now is borderline complicity.

You are part of the problem.

If you have lamented the torching of squad cars and precinct stations, felt discomfort over images of innocent buildings going up in flames or felt disgust over the notion that people would use a protest to loot both small business owners and multinational corporations, you are part of the problem. Buildings do not matter. Cars do not matter. Stock does not matter. Black Lives Matter. In the years following the 2014 Ferguson,Missouri protests regarding the murder and desecration of Michael Brown, six men involved in the protests died under mysterious circumstances. The bodies of two of the men, Deandre Joshua and Darren Seals, were discovered in their burning cars. No arrests were made. No justice was served. No justice, no peace.

If you struggle to understand white privilege, you are part of the problem. When Kaitlin Bennett, The Kent State Gun Girl, wore a military grade assault weapon to her graduation, she became a rallying cry for second amendment enthusiasts. When Tamir Rice, a 12 year old black boy, played with a toy gun, he was shot to death by police. Today, Bennett tours the country as a far right personality; Tamir rests in power and his murderer walks free. Prosecute the police.

If you voted for, plan to vote for or otherwise support Donald Trump and his administration, you are part of the problem. When armed white protestors attempted to storm Michigan’s state capital and screamed unmasked in the faces of capital guards, they were met with peaceful silence from police and outright support from the president. When self-proclaimed Nazis marched through Charlottesville, they were protected and supported. Even after a man used a car as a weapon against counter protestors, killing one and injuring many, Trump spoke about good people on both sides. But when protestors took to the streets in response to yet another Black American dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to “protect” the public, Trump called them thugs, quoted a violently racist police chief and mobilized the Military Police, effectively attempting to turn the United States Military against Americans for daring to exercise their right to protest.

If you have spent the past week speaking about how it’s “not all cops,” you are part of the problem. Now is not the time to discuss how your dad or aunt or cousin is a “good cop.” Doing so is ignorant and insensitive; do not try to make this about you. The same goes for proponents of “All Lives Matter.” I cannot think of a more selfish thing to say during this time.

If you stay silent, you are part of the problem.

Xavier University, why have you stayed silent? Why has the administration not released a statement regarding any of the murders of black men and women in the past weeks? Why has the administration not expressed solidarity with the protestors? Why has a University with a history of on campus racial discrimination and a building named after a slave owner not offered counseling resources to its students of color during this time? I understand the struggles of reopening a school amidst a pandemic and the desire to stay largely impartial and apolitical, and I still ask “how dare you?” How dare you stay silent as members of our community fight for their right to exist? Your silence is vile. It disgusts me. It should disgust every member of this community.

Xavier Administration, you have one week to speak up and enter the correct side of history. Otherwise, stay silent and let it be known that you showed cowardice when your community needed hope.

To all those protesting, donating, crying, screaming and writing–keep fighting, you are what makes America great.