When Silence Speaks More Than Words

12573153_977658305654638_6533643355779016271_nBy Miguel Carpizo- GBM Community Organizer

 

 

“Silence is the most powerful scream”

-anonymous

 

 

For all the years I have been living in the U.S., I have seen many killings, from the multiple shootings at schools, movie theatres, churches, and most recently at the Orlando gay club, to the many killings and police brutality to blacks and browns.


I have seen how this country lives in constant fear of the unknown. I have watched them dehumanize Muslims just because of their faith and call them terrorists. I have read many stories, and personally seen immigrant families torn apart just because they don’t have a social security number, but they are contributing to our society in many ways.


As a blogger and active social media user, I am able to read many opinions and articles people post on Facebook and their personal blogs.  I can agree or disagree with them, and sometimes I try to start a conversation that could take us to a constructive and teachable dialogue. Sometimes those conversations become defensive arguments but that doesn’t mean that our friendship is torn apart just because we do not agree. Of course, if someone whom I do not have any personal relationship with (meaning we have never spent quality time in person) starts an argumentative discussion, I usually do not get involved. For me, in order to be able to listen to each other, we must have a personal relationship; a friendship beyond the realm of Facebook.

 

But one of the hardest things for me to deal with is not the disagreement with my friends. It is their silence. When I check their pages and there is not one single response to what is happening in our country, city, or community, I really do not know how to think. Their silence is like a knife that cuts my heart. They let me bleed to death, not caring for me at all.  Their silence becomes a very personal weapon. I am extremely uncomfortable to see some of my white, Christian friends pretending that their lives are just as normal as can be. Some of the minorities or faith communities only support issues personal to them and totally ignore others issues because they think it doesn’t affect them. Different oppressed and minority groups should be lifting each other up, and those with privilege have the power to change minds simply by speaking up.

 

Silence in the midst of so much noise is a sign of indifference. It is like pretending nothing is happening. I see it this way: if I am in the middle of a rock concert in a big auditorium and suddenly see one of my best friends sitting, having coffee and reading a book totally absent of what is happening around him, two things would come into my mind; 1.) He doesn’t have any idea where he is, or 2.) He doesn’t care about the concert at all. I am sorry, I may be wrong, but for me, this doesn’t make sense at all.

As a Latinx, Gay, Mexican, person of color, and a former pastor there are going to be many issues in our society that are going to be very personal to me, and they will affect my emotional life.  If you decide to be quiet about them, then your silence hurts more than your verbal disagreement.