My heart is heavy and my eyes are not dry. Again.
In the past two days, we’ve seen two black men
killed executed by the police. Again.
I’ve seen post after post by my black friends about how they’re treated like their lives don’t matter, how they live in fear for their black sons, brothers and nephews. Again.
We see #blacklivesmatter and the names of the victims on social media over and over. Again.
I watch and hear the media try to spin the story and diminish black people’s lived experiences. Again.
We hear people claim but “all lives matter,” who somehow seem to blame the victims, who seem to miss the blatant truth staring them in the face. Again.
The ignorance that many people have around this cannot keep happening.
White friends we CANNOT choose ignorance anymore. We CANNOT sit idly by while human beings are being killed by the people who are supposed to “serve and protect.”
We CANNOT ignore the fact that:
Unarmed African-American men and boys are an astounding 700% more likely to be shot and killed by police than unarmed white men. In fact, unarmed black men and boys are killed at almost the same rate by police as armed white men.
We CANNOT diminish the lived experiences of black men and women in our country because their perspective and their stories MATTER. And if you don’t know their perspective or stories, listen. Here’s one place to start.
We CANNOT turn a blind eye to the systemic racism and injustices that weave this country together and make it run.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor, Desmond Tutu says, and I refuse to be neutral.
We should care so much about justice and for everyone whose skin is not white to be treated in a way where they do not have to be fearful for their lives that we cannot be neutral.
I know that because I am white, I will never understand what it’s like to be treated like I am disposable and that my life doesn’t matter. When I saw police I always assumed they were there to help. The ones who make sure everyone is okay.
But that’s my story and that story is really only true for white people.
Instead of getting pulled over for a “busted tail light” or asked why I’m in a certain area of town, I get pulled over and asked if I know where I am and am I lost because “don’t you know what kind of area this is.”
The examples and experiences I have to show the difference between the white lived experience in America and black lived experience in America are too vast to list here.
It is terrifying to think about my friends, my soon to be brother-in-law and nephews, and kids who I love so much not having anyone there to protect them…to be fearful of the very people who are supposed to help.
To my white friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and strangers please open your eyes and your ears to see and hear the injustice that plague non-white people each and every day.
Choose to not be a white moderate, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice – remember that shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will and lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection [MLK JR].
Make the choice to be better.
To my black friends, family, neighbors and strangers, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you have to live in a world where your story isn’t heard, where there are too many experiences to share that your life doesn’t seem to count as much as others and where you have to carry the weight and burden of fear, racism and injustice.
I believe that justice is meant to roll down like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream so I will say #blacklivesmatter. Again, and again, and again.