Thousands upon thousands of protesters took to the streets over the weekend to rally for racial justice and protest police brutality. And despite the images and video clips of destruction that inevitably make the front page, the vast majority of these demonstrations were peaceful the vast majority of the time.

This is the main story—but it's not the story many Americans are seeing.

We humans have a tendency to rubberneck at tragedy and tune in our attention to violence, and the media caters to those instincts. In some cases, there's a good reason for shining a light on violence—like when brutality and coverup of brutality is an issue in a legal system that is supposed to protect and serve the people. But choosing to place the spotlight on a minority of people causing destruction when most are peacefully demonstrating merely reinforces the stereotypes that help race-based police brutality to go unchecked. In addition, rioting may be a true expression of rage and pain ("the language of the unheard," per Dr. King), but it also may be greedy opportunists taking advantage and outside forces purposefully sowing violence, chaos and confusion.

It's a part of the story, but not the main story.

The story of the week is that people across the nation announced that they were fed up with watching black people die and protested racial injustice in beautiful and powerful ways. Here are some images that illustrate that story:

First of all, SO much dancing.




Protesters using their bodies as shields to protect other protesters, businesses, and on some cases, police.




And group acts of powerful solidarity.







And there's just something about hearing people in London chant "Black Lives Matter" with a British accent that warms the heart.


Reports show that some of these peaceful protesters were met with tear gas and rubber bullets anyway. That's another story as well. While we can't distill anything that's happening into a single, simplistic narrative, we should at least strive to make the main story the main story. When the majority of people in cities across the nation (and now around the world) are organizing and carrying out massive, peaceful, powerful protests to push the country toward justice, that's the main story. Well done, most of America.

By now, most of us know better than to get our hopes up about our favorite celebrities. We've watched too many beloved household names fall from grace, and even those who seem delightful in their personas have been outed as kinda terrible people in private. (We'll always have Mister Rogers. And I'm still holding out hope for Tom Hanks, all kooky conspiracy theories aside.)

But a Twitter thread that largely flew under the radar this week has highlighted the apparently universal kindness of comedian and late night talk show host Seth Meyers.

Sara Benincasa wrote:

"When certain pals battered & bruised by an otherwise abusive industry mention Seth Meyers, they go into an enchanted fugue state and talk like they got to work with the love child of Glinda the Good Witch and some benevolent supergenius golden retriever, IDK, he sounds nice!"

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

This week, viral photos from the first day of school in various Georgia counties showed students crowded together with few masks in sight. Schools in the same area had to shut down entire classrooms due to positive tests after the first day back, quarantining students and teachers for two weeks.

In these counties, students are "encouraged" to wear a mask at school, but they are not required. Mask-wearing is referred to as a "personal choice."

This week, a private Christian college in a town near where I live announced that is planning to resume in-person classes this fall. The school has decided that students will not be required to wear masks, despite the fact that the town itself has a mask mandate for all public spaces. "No riots. No masks. In person. This fall," the college wrote in a Facebook post advertising the school last month.

The supposed justification for not requiring students to wear masks is that it's a "personal choice," and that students have the freedom to choose whether to wear one or not.

That's a neat story. Except it is totally hypocritical coming from schools and school districts that have no problem placing limits on personal choice and freedom by mandating stringent dress codes for students.

Keep Reading Show less