Update: I wrote this post yesterday, then went to bed blissfully unaware of the events taking place here in Dallas last night. I still stand by every sentence I wrote. For me to say #BlackLivesMatter does not imply in any way shape or form that blue lives don’t. I know people who serve on the Dallas police force. I am heartbroken and in shock over the recent tragedy. I believe it is more hardcore evidence that there is a deep-rooted problem in this country and we need to quit bickering and work together to find solutions. The protest in Dallas last night was a peaceful one until a lone shooter decided to take matters into his own hands. Please remember that.
Lunch churns sour in my stomach.
I’ve avoided the news and social media for several days, but something Eric watched yesterday caught my attention. So I’m just now catching up on the Alton Sterling tragedy.
Once again, America, we have a problem we refuse to own up to.
As comedian Larry Wilmore so eloquently puts it, “the punishment for being a black man shouldn’t be death.” And yet. . . seems that . . . much like during the Jim Crow era, that’s still what it is.
Black men in America are walking targets.
Right on the heels of the Alton Sterling murder, another black man named Philando Castile was killed in Minnesota. Pulled over for a broken taillight. Shot when asked to retrieve his license and registration, after informing the officer that he was a licensed gun carrier. Fatally wounded in front of his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter.
I’m a 47-year-old white woman. I don’t know the answers or solutions to this enormous problem we have in our nation.
But I am so weary of the broken record, Groundhog-day-ness of it. Same song, different verse.
As a white middle-class woman, I have the privilege of ignoring what happens. I can turn off the TV, get off of Facebook, get in my minivan and drive up to Target — even with a busted taillight — without fear.
But I’m tired for my 47-year-old black sisters. For how they don’t get to live the way I do. How every time they — or especially their male partners or sons or fathers — go out and do ordinary everyday things, they are risking their lives.
I can’t even comprehend that kind of courage, nor that kind of fear.
The injustice of it sickens me in the pit of my soul and I’ve fought back tears all day knowing this is how my black brothers and sisters are living in the land of the free and home of the brave.
I frequently write about trauma, but I cannot imagine the trauma of seeing a loved one gunned down for no reason. I cannot fathom the scars left behind for those who survive. What becomes of the four-year-old girl in the backseat? The one who can be heard on the video telling her mama, “It’s okay. I’m right here with you.”
We’ve dropped the ball. And it’s a wrecking ball of evil and injustice.
We’re destroying our own people, and in so doing, America, we are destroying our country.
#AllLivesMatter Is Ignorance in Wolves’ Clothing
Once again, the movement of #BlackLivesMatter takes on new urgency. So many (white people) dismiss it, retorting in kind that “AllLivesMatter.”
It’s an argument I know well.
- I know the sting as a mother of an autistic child of being dismissed and told, “We ALL have special needs.”
- I know the crazy suggestion a person made saying she understood what it’s like because her son was short and couldn’t be on the basketball team.
- I know the scramble in my brain when people make such stupid, reckless comments and how I shake my head in wonderment at how clueless so much of the population truly is.
Except in my case, having such an argument was never a life or death scenario.
For my black sisters, it always is. Every single day is a life or death scenario. And it simply should not be.
So what do we say in response to yet more shootings?
Saying “All Lives Matter” in response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement is not compassionate or inclusive. It’s simply refusing to acknowledge there’s a problem at all.
And if there’s no problem, then we (especially white people) don’t have to feel accountable for helping find a solution.
What author Michelle Alexander calls the “Age of Colorblindness” has indeed blinded us. It’s blinded us to the most basic humanity of our brothers and sisters. We are doomed if we continue to bury our heads in the sand.
Always, always, I’ve been a bleeding heart sort. But today, my heart’s scraped raw and torn open. With salt poured in.
What will it take, America? What will it take for us to recognize the truth and then actually do something about it?
The truth is this: #BlackLivesMatter.
Even to this one middle-aged white lady. And they should to you as well.