My blood boiled as I sat across a friend who implied Mike Brown deserved what he got—a friend who lived a decade in South Africa immediately after Nelson Mandela was sworn in as president; a friend who witnessed institutionalized racism begin to slowly diminish in the country as it remained steadfast in the minds of the South African people; a friend who was once admitted into a segregated hospital. As she appealed to me, I sat there thinking, “This can’t really be life.”

When History Passes You By

In the weeks after the Ferguson and Staten Island grand jury decisions not to indict officers who killed unarmed men, I watched my Twitter feed fill up with pictures and videos of protests, panels, riots, and marches. I felt I was being left behind. I cried after the Ferguson decision. My heart broke for my brothers, my friends, and my future sons. I couldn’t help but think that maybe when my future husband goes to the store for milk one night, he’ll be killed like he’s in a scene from “Call of Duty”. Even though I felt the injustice deeply, I couldn’t help feeling like history was passing me by as I scrolled up and up and up on my phone.

I was thankful for the exchange with my friend because I was finally able to absorb another person’s thoughts and work out some issues, even if we didn’t agree with each other. We learned and shared insight. Conversation is at the top of the list on the way to racial reconciliation. Can you imagine if people actually sat down and went through problems together with humility by admitting fault instead of deferring guilt? As opposed to watching life like a television and flicking through the various channels of social media, doing nothing, this is the healthy option. As Shaun King tweeted, “If you ever wondered what you would do if you were alive in the Civil Rights Movement, NOW IS THE TIME to find out. NOW. RIGHT NOW.”

The Revolution Should Not Be Tweeted

Social media is a great tool to mobilize, plan, vent, and inform, but it should not be used as a substitute for conversation and action. Meaningful, life-altering dialogue should happen face-to-face as much as possible.  To avoid inactivity, find a panel meeting, a peaceful protest, or somewhere you can serve. This is history! We cheapen life by playing a peeping Tom to its events. Our gadgets have trained us for constant voyeurism, but we’re missing the bigger picture by not engaging friends, coworkers, and our children about monumental shifts in society. Avoiding the uncomfortable conversations is the perfect way for society to remain ignorant and biased.

Unfortunately, with media being so prominent, it looks like the revolution will indeed be televised. But it should not be tweeted. Let’s find a person to discuss our thoughts with. Sit down with a friend: iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). Years from now, our children will want to hear more about the people we learned from than about our retweets.