As a cis white man from an upper middle class household in one of the whitest states in the US, I feel woefully unqualified to comment on issues facing Black Americans during Pride Month. I just happen to be the guy who puts together these kinds of posts, so here we are. Fortunately, Heavy Blog has allowed me to join a diverse, progressive community, and I’ve spent the last several weeks listening to their outrage and insight on current events in the time since George Floyd’s death. So I’ll keep this relatively brief and let more informed voices amplify this message:
Black Lives Matter. I’m tired of this statement being controversial, but unfortunately, it’s apparent why it’s been such a difficult message for White America to process. Our President has been amplifying bigoted dog whistles through a megaphone since he descended on an escalator as a harbinger of disastrous policies and rhetoric. In the last week alone, Trump claimed he “made Juneteenth very famous” after scheduling a campaign rally on a day commemorating the end of slavery in a city that saw the worst racial massacre in U.S. history; his campaign used actual Nazi symbols in Facebook ads; and prominent administration officials said they don’t believe in systematic racism.
When that’s the kind of ideology trickling down from the top, and making its way on Fox, OAN, and other conservative outlets, it’s no wonder a significant swath of White America has reacted so negatively to ideas like defunding police departments or removing Confederate monuments and other racist symbols. And again, this is all from my limited perspective of the White, conservative ecosystem I have via family and family friends. I’ve had no experience with even the mildest micro-aggressions Black people experience on a daily basis, let alone systematic racism and police brutality.
That’s why the efforts of platforms like Bandcamp are a start, but only a launching point nonetheless. Make no mistake: we strongly encourage you to spend what you can today (preferably on Black artists and bands with Black members like those listed below, or crowd-sourced on blackbandcamp.info). To avoid burying the lead further, this Juneteenth and every Juneteenth hereafter, for any purchase you make on Bandcamp, they will be donating 100% of their share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. You can read more about the fundraiser here, or check out a list of artists and labels joining the event by offering donations, special merch, and more.
But perhaps most importantly, learn how you can help. Read relevant books, watch relevant media, donate to relevant causes, have relevant conversations. I’m guilty of avoiding the kind of necessary debates we should be having; it’s difficult to face someone’s entrenched values and attempt to push them in the right direction. But like many people in this country, I’m learning why that needs to change. Obviously a one-day fundraiser or even the transcendent impact of music is hardly enough to enact real change. But again, it’s a start, and the fact these movements have already inspired progress gives me hope.