I mean no disrespect to those who also find these debates complicated, charged and even bewildering, but I wish that I could understand why so many people are threatened by the #BlackLivesMatter movement. And I’m not talking about the extremists, although they are out there, they are out everywhere, in every group; religion, politics, wherever there are agendas, and they can quickly turn things scary, without a doubt. But I’m talking about the people who are out there trying to save their husbands, brothers, sons, friends, even their selves.
History has suggested and already shown to many that for all intents and purposes ALL lives don’t matter, but that doesn’t mean that the statement All Lives Matter is incorrect. They all do matter, and they should. All LIFE should matter! People on all sides (except maybe those perpetual, upstart-extremists) are agreeing and even shouting All Lives Matter!
People have already been made to feel separate, for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Having a movement to help a group of people who are united by a commonality does not have to mean they are threatening to the people who are not part of that group, or that they are suggesting that they matter any more than anyone else. Nor that they want to be separate…they already too often feel separate.
As a white person I could say to my black friend that I don’t see color because I find him to be one of the most beautiful, vibrant, wonderful people I’ve ever known and loved, and I would be attempting to say that I don’t want us to be on different sides. And I can even mean it in the most loving, sincere use of the words. I could say and mean with my whole heart that I don’t see us as separate, or as different. That I see us both as human beings; removing everything extraneous, I see us as just two skeletons. That our bodies with our particular skin colors, are simply housing our souls for our time here on Earth. That we’re all made of stardust, a truly beautiful image. That we both have human blood coursing through our veins, and we both bleed and cry and hurt and laugh and love, and therefore we are so much more similar than different. All true…
But, his experiences as a black skinned person are diverse, he has beautiful and rich histories from his lineage, but too often there are also incidences that are so painfully different than mine as a white skinned person…if he has not gotten a job because of the color of his skin, if he cannot zip out to the 24 hour Walmart at 2 am without being eyed suspiciously, let alone doing it at 2 pm and meeting a similar watchful gaze or being followed throughout the store, if he cannot help a white woman put a heavy shopping bag into her car without being mistrusted or having his motives questioned, let alone date or marry her based solely on how much he loves her and she him without being judged and possibly a lot worse, if he has to fear being pulled over by a police officer based solely on that same skin color…when meanwhile I have not faced ANY of these scenarios, and many more much, much worse and unimaginable ones…then how can I possibly say it’s this movement that is what’s separating or damaging us?
Not to mention that saying that I’m unable or unwilling to see various colors (in skin pigmentation) so as to sound like we are all the same, has always felt like it bypasses and belies the beauty of all of the ranges of skin tones that there are. And every one of those shades is beautiful and interesting and unique, but none of them are the telltale signs of whether a person is intrinsically kind, or evil, or ignorant, or malevolent, or loving.
The #BLM is putting a spotlight on a very scary, very real, statistically legitimate issue and it represents an anomaly, which is something that deviates from what is standard, normal or expected. It has been referred to as a civil rights movement. Also a desperate cry for help because many black people fear for the safety of their family and friends, especially their men and boys, whenever they leave their homes, on a daily basis. Imagine living like that? It’s happening all over the world, certainly. But many of us are not experiencing it here in Western society, however many people are doing just that. It’s 2016, after all the work of such greats as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Mrs. Rosa Parks, and so many more that I could go on and on listing, this needs to end.
I’ve seen at least two poignant analogies to help people understand what the #BLM movement is attempting to do. I’ve also seen them shot down as “obscure Liberal quotes” and “Liberal media propaganda”. I could not disagree more. I think, that that right there – bringing politics into this, is an example of the ways we are dividing ourselves. And I could go even further and say that that’s actually a way of dividing us into enemies – having a two party system where many truly believe that one entire side is right & one is wrong, and that one entire side is bad & one is good. The judgement, and hypocrisy, and extreme political correctness starts to lead to all kinds of problems.
Anyway, here they are, two of the best examples of why I support the BLM hashtag, but have a harder time with ALM as an alternative, better or equal hashtag replacement:
- President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. President Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
– Taken from the Black Lives Matter Wikipedia (where it has been sourced)
I truly believe that it’s important to see #BlackLivesMatter for what it means and represents to my passionate, loving black friends who are upset, fearful, hurting and trying to stand up for this cause to save lives and further civil rights activism. Something many people of all colors have been doing all along, and I’ve seen many people of many colors supporting it now. It is a very scary situation, and I just felt absolutely compelled to say something, to add my voice. Who am I to say anything?
I’m a human being who deeply cares and deeply loves.
With so much LOVE,
Raina Morton July 14 2016
*The title She Implored Me to Speak Up refers to Brandi Riley’s live FB video which had me in earnest tears, it can be seen here.