It Matters to Me

Sunday, July 10, 2016

black and white hands
As a white person I have never been discriminated against because of the color of my skin. I have only ever been pulled over by the police twice in the 53 years I've been alive and both times I was speeding so it had nothing to do with my skin color. I can say I've never experienced someone see me coming and intentionally walk on the other side of the street. I have never been called by a racial epithet. I know people personally who have experienced each of these things themselves and I struggle to fathom how that feels. I also struggle to understand how these things are still happening in our country in 2016.

It is so easy for people like me, yes, white people, to minimize the reality of what life is like for our black brothers and sisters by blaming them and their culture for instead of standing with them to correct the problem. And to make things worse, when they cry out in desperation to the rest of us that #blacklivesmatter we get angry and accuse them of insinuating that white lives don't matter. That is not what they are saying and they never have. We, white people, are saying that. Yes, there are some black people who are trying to hijack the "black lives matter" movement for their own purposes but we must be careful not to allow to derail the train that is on the tracks. When we respond with "all lives matter" we are telling black people that they don't. We are telling them we don't take seriously the reality of what life for them is like. If we're not careful we will be the ones who derail the train of real change and healing.

We need to stop it with the "all lives matter" rhetoric because it isn't true. If all lives REALLY mattered then innocent black people wouldn't be getting killed on our streets. We don't have an epidemic of innocent white people being killed so why should it matter? And therein lies the real problem. We don't see it as "our" problem. We see it as "their" problem. But it has to matter to us because ALL lives should matter. NO ONE should die like that. But innocent black lives are being taken from us almost daily and people of ALL colors need to stand up in unison and unequivocally declare BLACK LIVES MATTER! Yes, all lives matter but there is something horribly wrong in our culture that would make it necessary for hundreds of thousands of our citizens to march upon our city halls crying out "black lives matter."

Maybe it doesn't matter to you but it does to me and that is why I am standing and saying #blacklivesmatter! Until all black lives actually matter to all Americans we can’t honestly say all lives matter.
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