Can We Please Say #BlackLivesMatter Already?

I want to edit my post from last year.

Because since then I’ve learned some things…I’ve learned a lot.  And I learned that I was wrong to suggest we should stop saying #BlackLivesMatter.

I sat in front of the evening news last night and cried as I watched a report about a sniper targeting Dallas police, killing 5 and wounding many more.

Even more disturbing is there has been two more Black men murdered by white police this week, one who was simply sitting in the driver’s seat of his car and had been stopped for a burned-out tail light.  His child was sitting in the backseat while his father was killed in front of him.  Horrifying.

When will this end?  When will we say it?  When will we mean it?  Can we please say #BlackLivesMatter already?

I don’t think Caucasian people, like me,  really understand what it is like to experience racism or that we take our white privilege for granted without even realizing we are doing it. I’m only beginning to understand it myself, but I do empathize with people of color and I am passionate about equality and justice. In fact, I’ve completed my graduate degree in the area of Equality, Ethics and Justice in Education.

The only way to heal our nation of this disease of institutional racism, or any problem for that matter, is to finally admit that we do have a problem. We need to have these conversations. We need to stop blaming the victims. We need to stop acting like everything is just fine as it is. We need to stop being offended by every notion that disagrees with our own worldview.

And lastly, could we need to acknowledge #Black Lives Matter already! 

black lives matter

Black. Lives. Matter.

Brown lives matter.  Police lives matter.  Gay lives matter.  Children’s lives matter. People with disabilities lives matter.

But none of these lives will matter until Black Lives Matter.

Really.

Until we realize the beauty and potential and intelligence and talents we are squandering when we devalue and marginalize human beings.

Until we understand that by enjoying our white privilege to the detriment of an entire group of fellow humans, and that by participating in the systems and structures that benefit us, not because of merit, but by the accident of being born with fairer skin, and we speak up to shut down those systems and structures, we will continue to perpetuate this racism.

Long ago, when the Europeans wanted to get rid of and take over land that was inhabited by native peoples, they began calling them “savages.”

The reason to refer to them as savages was because it was easier to kill savages than to kill human beings.

All we do now is redefine our savages. Instead of savages, they are called slaves, or crack whores, or welfare mamas, or criminals. It’s all the same idea. It’s easier to kill or punish or oppress a slave, or a crack whore, or a welfare mama or a criminal than to it is to kill or punish or oppress a human being.

Instead, we need to proclaim #BLACKLIVESMATTER or even #OUR LIVES MATTER
We need to stop dehumanizing and objectifying those who are different than we are and insist that all are referred to as HUMANS.

This is not about being colorblind.  If you are reading that I am advocating colorblindness, then you are misunderstanding me. I think we SHOULD recognize and honor the differences that make us unique and wonderful.

What I am advocating is to stop dehumanizing other human beings and realizing that by acknowledging #BlackLivesMatter we ARE saying that all lives matter.

If we considered all humans human, even those who are different in beliefs, or lifestyle, or gender, or sexual orientation, or income, or race or whatever differentiates us, then we might have a harder time hating them.

If we considered human beings a part of “us” instead of “them,” it might be harder to go into their church buildings and slay them. Or call them names. Or deny basic human rights. Or underfund their schools. Or a host of other indignities that have been carried out either directly and indirectly against people of color in our nation

And it might be harder to fly a flag that is the symbol of their oppression over your state capital building in the guise of honoring history.

The ghastly treatment of Black people in our nation presents to us an opportunity to honestly look at the systemic dysfunction in our nation that allows these acts to be carried out. We need to genuinely evaluate what we are communicating to our young Caucasian men that is somehow promoting these macabre ideals. We need to hold our leaders accountable to promote logical and equitable solutions. Lastly, we need to stop the rhetoric of separation and marginalization of humans into categories of the good “us” as opposed to the undeserving “them,” and recognize that we are all human beings deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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