Keke Palmer Says ‘We Were Born’ for a Revolution on Race in America: ‘Following Rules Isn’t Enough’
“Sometimes, going against authority is the only remedy for change, especially when we have seen, too often, those authority figures step over the line,” Keke Palmer wrote
Floyd’s death has sparked both national and international protests against police brutality and racial injustice after he tragically died on May 25, when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes.
Palmer, 26, wrote a guest column for Variety, published Tuesday, sharing that she believes she has been waiting for a revolution her “entire life.”
“I like following rules and doing what I’m told,” Palmer began in the column. “As a kid, these rules stick with you. But even at a young age, I was taught to question the things that didn’t feel right to me.”
She continued, “Sometimes, going against authority is the only remedy for change, especially when we have seen, too often, those authority figures step over the line. So where do you draw the line? How do you know to draw the line? Is there a line?”
Palmer also addressed the now-viral video of her making a passionate plea to National Guard members during a demonstration in Hollywood, urging officers to "be the change" and "march beside us and show us that you're here for us." The officers declined, instead taking a knee.
“I chose to join the protests in Los Angeles to bring as much awareness as we can to the injustices in America and fight against white supremacy and what it does to our nation,” she wrote. “At one point, I spoke with National Guardsmen who were preventing us from marching past a certain point and challenged them to march with us. In my wildest dreams, they would all march with us without risk of punishment, in the same way that if the whole class walks out of school, no one gets detention for it. If enough of them felt moved to do this, it would offer so much inspiration and impact the movement in such a meaningful way.”
“They didn’t march with us, and while one offered to for a short stretch, he also said he had to ‘protect the businesses’ and buildings in the area,” the actress added. “While a few guardsmen knelt, for me that isn’t enough. Kneeling has become a mockery of sorts. Kneeling on George Floyd’s neck is what killed him. Now we see police officers kneeling and then, moments later, attacking peaceful protesters. At this point, the kneeling has no meaning.”
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The column, published the same day that Floyd is being laid to rest in his hometown of Houston, Texas, goes on to explain that a revolution is needed in America to dismantle and rebuild the current systems.
“I have waited for a revolution, I believe, my entire life. I feel it’s like this for many millennials; messages about following rules and staying in line have since evolved into calls to stand up and get others to stand with you, to challenge authority and recognize different life experiences while gathering with others who are like-minded,” Palmer wrote. “I truly believe that everything that has led us to this moment has prepared us for a revolution and a revelation: the dismantling and rebuilding of a system that is better, more equitable and representative of the people it claims to represent.”
“So while it may be scary, we were born for this: We were born to be leaders and grow out of just ‘following rules’ because following rules isn’t enough,” she concludes. “We are now being called to challenge the rules and to challenge the character of those making them.”
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.