Ahmaud Arbery and How ‘Human’ Is An Action Word

I’ve been talking about this a lot over on my Instagram, but I’d thought I’d share it here too as important is an understatement.

I wrote this post in response to following the story of Ahmaud Arbery – a young black man followed, shot and killed by a white ex policeman and his son, both armed, when Ahmaud was out for a jog in his Georgia neighbourhood in February. They followed him as they believed he looked like the suspect of a recent burglary. His killers were only arrested yesterday after a video of the shooting surfaced and were charged today.

The world is hurting so much right now, in more ways than one, but what confuses me is that somehow we’re all human enough to be brought to our knees by a virus that’s only a few months old and yet not human enough to recognise that our society is filled with the biggest killer of all, one that’s been around since the beginning of time – inequality and division. The news is filled with numbers and statistics of those dying from Covid 19 and we’re all taking steps to rid our world of it, we wash our hands and stand two metres apart, but still we let injustice and inequality run rampant throughout society, wreaking destruction and pain, and consequently anger and division. And when I say society, I mean the society you and I both live in for our entire lifetimes on earth, the society we shape with the actions we take every single day.

To me, human is a verb not a noun. It requires action, it requires love, it requires listening, it requires change, it requires compromise, it requires openness, it requires acceptance, it requires honesty and it requires conversation.

And the worse thing is that I’ll look back on this and I’ll tell myself that I should be more positive and that my ramblings won’t solve anything, but no. Some things need to be said and not just reframed in a more lighthearted and digestible way. We don’t get to switch on and off, this is reality and it doesn’t go away just because we want it to. This is how I’m feeling right now. I’m finding the world I live in and the world I’m part of frustrating and painful and I can’t even begin to imagine how much more so it is for those directly affected by inequality and injustice. And though I am proud of many elements of society, there are huge chunks that I am deeply ashamed of.

I’m just so tired of living life like when one day ends we have to wake up and start fighting for the next one to be a good one. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I wanna be a bridge, but bridges get trodden all over and it’s not long before your back starts to hurt. So tired of someone’s humanity being the irony in the punchline of someone else’s thoughtless joke. So tired of not understanding enough and so tired of understanding too much. So tired of humans not being human. So tired of history repeating itself and cycles that seemingly can’t be broken.

At the end of the day, how hard is it to love and respect each other? How hard is it to care about the life of someone compiled of the same molecules and atoms as you are just in a slightly different arrangement? Someone who stares back at you with the same eyes you look out through? Someone with a heart and a soul like yours? How much evidence and statistics do you need to start acting like a human, bearing in mind that human is a verb, taught to children in schools as an action word? How many more people have to suffer injustices before we do anything about it?

I’m not saying these things are simple. Life is complicated, people are complex, but love is not. Love is a very basic choice and anyone who ever made any difference understood that. If we let our love for our fellow human beings guide our actions, and yes we absolutely have to take action, we can rarely go wrong. Love leads to equality. Division leads to more division. Aim for unity in everything you do.

37 thoughts on “Ahmaud Arbery and How ‘Human’ Is An Action Word

  1. I only heard about this earlier today and I actually couldn’t digest this at all. It felt absolutely repulsive to me- the horror of such an action. If you can’t love, atleast don’t hate anyone.
    People can atleast follow this.🥺

    I hate to sound so weak but it fills me with pain and tears. You wrote all this so so so beautifully.
    I loved the way you said “human” being a verb. And well, I sincerely hope that the world feels ashamed atleast after this, and maybe this ends. In that way, atleast Arbery’s sad death might not be fruitless- if it indeed brings the world together against such horrors. That’s about the only way I can feel positive. :))
    Lots of love to you. ❤XX

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand what you’re coming from. The world just really needs love. It’s so frustrating sometimes cause thinking about it, a lot of things can get solved if people have more patience & love for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grace this was so powerful, I hadn’t heard about this as I don’t watch the news or read the newspapers so I’m completely disconnected, arguably a good and a bad thing. The points you made here are so true, the world needs more love and patience, thank you for sharing this brilliant post Gracie 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was so powerful. Your paragraph about human being a verb is so interesting – a perspective I had never really thought of before. But I fully understand what you mean by it! Such an important post. More people need to see this. Take care x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i LOVE this post 🥺💕 i felt so many emotions going through it.. but mainly frustration. it *shouldn’t* be this hard to give people the love and respect they deserve?? the whole lynching of ahmed just proved this, and it’s so sad to see all these deep-rooted problems being exposed *only* in situations like these- with COVID it was healthcare, and with ahmed it’s racial discrimination. that sorta went into a rant (oops) but tysm for writing this !! it was real, and raw, and *wasn’t* sugar-coated. “human is a verb and not a noun” was just a mIND-BLOWING revelation that’s so, so true. wishing you well !! 💙💙

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Girl your writingggg ❤️ This was such an important post and I love how you wrote it. I had just heard about this the other day and it’s sad how stuff like this isn’t talked about much. I’m so glad you’re talking about it and informing everyone else, thank you 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i find this story so incredibly horrible. it’s heartbreaking that anyone could even think of doing that to an innocent man. thank you for raising awareness on this, and for covering it in such a beautiful way.
    stay safe, xx

    Liked by 1 person

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