Say It With Your Chest: Sports, T-Shirts, and Making Statements

As much as I’d like to end the year on an unhappy note (and by end, I mean as far as ranting goes) I just can’t. While there’s so much going on and continues to be, terrible shit is happening in this country and beyond. It’s fair to say that 2014 was a year that made us all start to open up dialogue on stuff we haven’t wanted to talk about for quite a while.

Members of the Brooklyn Nets show support for Eric Garner.
Members of the Brooklyn Nets show support for Eric Garner.

Race, violence, relationships, parenting and many other important topics ruled the headlines. The potential that goes untapped in our present society can go a couple different ways as a result of these big events. Holding back from our thoughts and ideas pertaining to conventional wisdom is what makes other countries so much less desirable. In America we have the freedom of speech.

You might not agree with what people say or how they say it, but that’s what is so great about America. You don’t have to. There’s a right way to go about getting what you want and getting your point across. Is wearing t-shirts saying “I can’t breathe” on it the most affective way to make change? Probably not. Is it made better when it’s copied by anyone and everyone? Not likely. But it’s a right we all possess and challenging that isn’t cool.

The various types of protesting going on: die-ins, hands up in public, t-shirts of all kinds; are different ways of getting attention. They might not be the best, but they certainly aren’t the worst. For as much as freedom of speech is important, there’s a certain point where the intent to be helpful only winds up hurtful.

Twitter has unleashed the idea that hash-tagging things desensitizes what we say. That’s not the truth. It just makes us look even more immature. #CrimingWhileWhite was a lame way for white people that felt guilty to act like they were helping others see that whites are aware of racial profiling. But those people let that shit happen, so they obviously don’t care that much. And what does that help? Does that ease your conscience? I hope not. And what about #BlackLivesMatter? Yes. They matter. But don’t ALL LIVES MATTER? Isn’t that what we really need to be discussing?

Perhaps there will always be problems to solve. There will most definitely always be opinions that are better left unsaid. But for as dialed-in as this generation claims to be, there’s more social ineptitude than we can account for. If we really want to make use of how connected the world is, everyone needs to take a step back and work on the collective communication of a world that has become sensitive too anything and everything.

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