I feel broken and I have struggled with expressing this, and questioned whether I even have the right to, but I need to say this, even if no one is listening.
I’ll try to explain this in simple terms:
Stating black lives matter is not stating “instead of” or “more than,” it means “too.”
As in: “I don’t think black people should be killed for traffic violations, jogging, bird watching, or doing anything a white person can do a hundred times…a thousand times a day…without fear of death, because black lives matter, TOO, not just white ones.”
It’s just like saying Women and lgbt+ people shouldn’t have special protections under the law. We don’t. We have laws that had to be placed on the books to give us the same rights other people ALREADY had. Ironically, by denying others the same liberties, freedoms, and rights some people already have, you’re enshrining special rights, not preventing them.
Look. I’m a white guy. I don’t know from being a person of color one bit. As a gay man, I do know what it means to be treated as less than for most of my life. And we are no strangers to discrimination, hatred, and violence because of our very existence. But it’s not the same. You can’t tell I’m gay by the color of my skin.
More importantly, I’m human. And I feel sick watching this country brutalize part of its population over and over again, and turn a blind eye.
I don’t know what I can do. I don’t know how I can help. I don’t know what the fix is. But I know staying quiet and complacent is not the answer. So I’m saying something:
Stop terrorizing and killing black people for existing and then blaming them for fighting back. For standing (or kneeling) and saying ENOUGH!
I am not apologizing for senseless violence and looting. But if you can see cops (and self proclaimed white vigilantes) brutalizing and murdering black people every day, for daring to be alive and black and in society like, you know, every fucking other person, and not judge all cops and white people for the action of those “heinous few,” then I’m sure as hell certain you can apply the same rationale when comparing a few rotten apples to a another entire race of people with skin darker than yours.
No more excuses. No more explanations. No more apologies. Unequivocally, people of color deserve every bit of respect, dignity, freedom, fairness, justice, protection, opportunity, support, trust, love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, inclusion, and cooperation that is automatically given to people not born with darker skin.
Their rage is justified. Their pain is real. Their lives are endangered. Their blood is running. And their lives FUCKING matter.
I know this one stupid post won’t matter. I know I won’t change a damn thing. But I have to say it, none the less:
To all of my fellow black Americans, community members, neighbors, family members, co-workers, and friends:
I see you. I hear you. I understand what you’re saying and doing, and I understand why you’re doing it. And even if you can’t see me as an ally, I do NOT see you as an enemy. I see you as a human being in pain. I see you as a community under attack. I see you as a people fighting for your lives.
You may not need to hear that from me. But I need to say it to you.
Until all of us are free, none of us are free.
Yours in solidarity.