Change is brewing in the United States. And Keke Palmer is ready for it.
In a guest column for Variety, Palmer elaborated on her participation in the Black Lives Matter protests and why she’s been waiting for a “revolution.”
She began her essay by relaying advice her mother gave her when she was a child actress: “I would be told by my mom that if the director tells me something that doesn’t make sense to me, to challenge him until we get to a place where I do understand. And if it doesn’t, we would go somewhere else.”
Palmer said she took that lesson to heart and applied it elsewhere in her life. “Sometimes, going against authority is the only remedy for change, especially when we have seen, too often, those authority figures step over the line,” she wrote. “I chose to join the protests in Los Angeles to bring as much awareness as we can to the injustices in America and fight against white supremacy and what it does to our nation.”
A video of the Hustlers actress pleading with National Guardsmen to join the Los Angeles protest went viral last week. Palmer also touched on that experience, writing, “In my wildest dreams, they would all march with us without risk of punishment, in the same way that if the whole class walks out of school, no one gets detention for it. If enough of them felt moved to do this, it would offer so much inspiration and impact the movement in such a meaningful way.”
They didn’t join the march; however, some knelt. During these protests, kneeling has become a sign of solidarity to the movement, although many see it as a meaningless gesture if not attached to greater material change. Palmer expanded, “Kneeling has become a mockery of sorts. Kneeling on George Floyd’s neck is what killed him. Now we see police officers kneeling and then, moments later, attacking peaceful protesters. At this point, the kneeling has no meaning.”
She continued, “White supremacy is the longest-lasting oppression in America, but it is not the only one. We may not all share in the Black experience of this, but I can guarantee you, almost everyone in this country has been oppressed in some form or another. It’s the reality of what happens when the illness of racism becomes validated through the system. It creates even more division, desensitizes us to the humanity of others to the point that so many can be easily blind to sweeping social injustices.”
She goes on to say that she’s ready for radical change. “I have waited for a revolution, I believe, my entire life,” she wrote. “I feel it’s like this for many millennials; messages about following rules and staying in line have since evolved into calls to stand up and get others to stand with you, to challenge authority and recognize different life experiences while gathering with others who are like-minded.
I truly believe that everything that has led us to this moment has prepared us for a revolution and a revelation: the dismantling and rebuilding of a system that is better, more equitable and representative of the people it claims to represent.”
Since George Floyd was killed by a white police officer near the end of May, uprisings have erupted across the world. Protests continue daily in major American cities and small-town suburbs, defying curfews and confronting militarized police. In the United Kingdom, protesters have taken matters into their own hands, removing a statue of a slave trader and throwing it into a river. And demonstrations have taken place in more far-flung locations, including Korea, Japan, and Iran.
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