Black Lives Matter.
Why is it that so many people cannot understand those three simple words?.
Black Lives Matter.
More puzzling is how such a simple, innocuous phrase stirs up so much vitriolic, internal hatred in people.
Black Lives Matter.
Maybe even worse is how some attempt to rationalize their opposition to the phrase by countering “All lives matter” or something of the like.
Black Lives Matter. Heck, Black lives should always matter. However, in today’s America, that’s just not the case.
Not when Ahmad Arbury was tracked down and murdered by a pair of white men in broad daylight while he was jogging in his neighborhood.
Or when a white police officer mercilessly murdered George Floyd late last month while detaining him for a non-violent offense, ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
Not when Breonna Taylor, an EMS worker in Louisville, Kentucky, was shot eight times in her home and killed when police executed a no-knock warrant in a search for suspects who weren’t even in her residence.
And somehow, someway, people still have the audacity, nay, the gall, to question aloud why so many people of color are angry right now? Why people of all creeds and races are peacefully walking along streets and highways in numerous cities this week, clamoring for justice? Why some have, unfortunately, resorted to vandalizing and destroying property?
If you fall into this fold, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.
Colin Kaepernick several years ago tried to address the problem of police brutality and racial inequality by peacefully kneeling. He was met with scorn and ridicule from those who felt it was “un-American” and disrespectful. LeBron James and numerous other NBA athletes wore shirts speaking out against racial injustice against people of color.
“Shut up and dribble,” one TV commentator said.
If people of color cannot protest peacefully without being gassed, shot at, ridiculed and ostracized, where and how can it be done?
Because if your first response to every peaceful protest generated by a person of color is, “No, you can’t protest that way” or “No, that form of protest is inappropriate,” then what you are essentially saying to people of color is, “No, you can’t protest and you shouldn’t protest.”
It’s a double standard that’s exponentially magnified when you consider police never fired a single rubber bullet or tear gas canister at heavily armed white men who stormed state capitol buildings last month.
Apparently bearing arms to intimidate local governments into re-opening despite a pandemic makes you a patriot in this country, while peacefully protesting racial inequality makes you a domestic terrorist.
The elephant in the room, of course, is finding a way to change. What’s weird is how some in our country don’t sense that ten-ton pachyderm.
Part of the path toward fixing this issue will be for all of us to have cold, hard and uncomfortable discussions about race and racism. If we’re being honest, these discussions should probably begin early in life.
After all, racism is a learned trait. It’s seemingly apparent some American parents didn’t feel the need to teach their children that people are people, no matter the hue of their skin.
More importantly, however, is the need for us as a people to push our civic leaders to go the extra mile in calling out, identifying and halting racism and police brutality.
That became supremely difficult when the President Monday seemingly declared war on all current protesters, violent or non-violent. He did so by threatening to use military action against them (he technically can’t as states have to request that help).
To truly remedy police brutality, we must demand police chiefs and their staffs across the nation do more in rooting out racists from their ranks.
As we saw once again this week, silence is murder when it comes to racism.
We must also demand our elected leaders stop using social media as a tool to incite violence and gaslight white supremacists.
Once again, apparently goose stepping white men carrying torches and spouting similar hate rhetoric as the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia are “very nice people,” while peaceful protesters fighting racial inequality are “thugs.”
There’s only thug here and he lives in a big white house.
We stand with the black community and support them wholeheartedly during this fight. It isn’t about politics or some other agenda.
It’s just the right thing to do. It’s the human thing to do.
Because Black Lives Matter.