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Black Lives Matter

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Or, Randy Orton gives me hope.

Lots of people in the wrestling business have been sharing their anger & sadness about the murder of George Floyd, and their support of the movements advocating for justice for Floyd & the countless black people who’ve suffered under white supremacist institutions & systems.

Part of the reason for this post is to, like my friend Cain, use the platform I’m fortunate enough to have use of to add whatever voice I have to the same cause.

The rest is because on a night where many of us struggled to feel anything but despair, I got a shot of hope from an unexpected person*.

Better than the hashtag, Randy Orton engaged with a follower on why he tweeted it.

Why do Orton’s tweets give me hope? Because, as he alludes to when he says “I finally realized”, Randy is someone who in 2016 took a stance against Black Lives Matter in the wake of the murder of Terence Crutcher by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also publicly denounced Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests against systemic oppression of people of color.

But after his tweets on those issues, Orton didn’t stick his fingers in his ears. He took up offers from friends and colleagues like this one.

Randy went on Booker T’s podcast and talked with Booker about what life is like for black men in America. He was able to look at situations from a perspective other than his own. In that process, he grew as a person, to the point where he is publicly advocating for racial justice.

That’s a big deal. Not in a “Randy Orton deserves a pat on the back” kind of way**. But as a sign that it’s actually possible to change hearts and minds. Everyone is so entrenched in their position on every topic these days. It’s especially difficult to even have conversations about racial or class privilege without defensiveness and blame and pain.

Change happened here. That means it can happen elsewhere, with others. And that means everything doesn’t always have to be like it is now, or worse.

That may be pollyanna-ish, but I think we could all use whatever positivity we can get right now.

* It was hard not to make an “out of nowhere” joke, but Orton didn’t change that way.
** Especially when The Viper may still be in need of some help understanding why other things aren’t cool.