Discrimination and injustice thrive in an atmosphere of silence. When good people feel unsure about offering support and solidarity to those bearing the brunt of bigotry and hate, the likelihood of even greater abuse increases. When the vocal minority becomes louder than the rational majority and pretends to command the “will of the people” by virtue of their silence our shared sense of morality and right becomes a parody of itself, unrecognizable to so many, accepted by a relative few. And when a ruling minority realizes their hold on power is only as strong as their ability to cheat and lie and bully and marginalize they will lash out at anyone, scapegoat any group, and sow chaos that only they can reel in (having been its orchestrators in the first place.)
It is this environment that feeds the fears and stokes the baser instincts of a cowered or disconnected society.
But when good people speak out against hatred or bigotry or discrimination it is like a shield of light against the darkest of human tendencies. By showing others that visibility and solidarity aren’t just right but imperative to reclaiming our values of equality, personal autonomy, respect, decency, and love, those who speak out offer strength to both the oppressed and their silent allies.
I do not stay silent. I choose to speak. I choose to advocate, to educate, to demonstrate, and to fight against policies of bigotry and discrimination. I won’t be one of the silent majority and I’ll never join the toxic minority that breeds resentment and casts blame on others for their own failings. I stand in solidarity and I will not waver as an ally.
Darkness cannot exist where good people demand truth, stand shoulder to shoulder for justice, and condemn acts of aggression and discrimination. But darkness grows in silence.
Fear, a powerful tool of the forces of injustice, can only have the power you give it. Perhaps combat fearfulness with patience, analysis, and rationality. Do not let fear silence what you know is right.
When you look at historic wrongs and place yourself on the moral side of the situation, you might ask yourself how others could have chosen the immoral and unjust side of things. You may wonder how so many simply “went along to get along.” You could marvel at how many stayed silent. History is happening right now. Those same questions apply today. Those same silences are happening every day. You don’t have to wonder how you would have acted then. You have a chance to act now.
Silence is always taken as acceptance by the ruling minority. Silence gives cover to discrimination. Silence breeds suspicion and fear.
So speak when you can. It doesn’t have to be big, just big enough for someone else to hear. Your voice will give strength to another silent ally. You might be surprised to know they are silently waiting for someone to act too.