Black Lives Matter. What does that mean to you? I can’t answer for you but for me, there is so much included in those three words. It is the rallying cry of people that have realized that our society has failed a discriminated group. Our society that has failed to make wrong all the wrongs against black people.
Our country has marginalized black people for hundreds of years. Our society has used them as a poster of hate and has said “It’s okay to discriminate against these folks because they’re different.” We have so marginalized these people that there are federal laws protecting them. Think on that. A federal law. The problem is such an issue that there needs to be protection for them in jobs, schools, and everyday life. When you think on this, it is overwhelming to me that this is necessary. Because of a person’s skin color, they are judged and abused.
Society is responsible for the issues that are arising right now. We are responsible for what is happening. We have allowed this type of behavior and ongoing racism for years. If you are not standing against it, you are allowing it. Yeah, that’s a lot of guilt that you don’t want to feel. You don’t’ want to have these uncomfortable thoughts and conversations but guess what? You have to if you want to see this change.
I have to work on my racism daily. I am a very open-minded liberal and I fight my racism. It is something that was taught through years of my youth and even into adulthood. I started noticing how much there was within me when I started working in the Tulsa Health Department. That was the moment of my awakening that we are doing a disservice to this marginalized group.
I have told this story multiple times. I was teaching a nutrition class to a group of first graders for the week at a low SES school. On Thursday of that week after teaching for three days, I had a little girl come up to me and tell me that she got in trouble by her mom because she asked her mom why they didn’t have more fruits and vegetables in the house. Her mom got upset because she got very defensive thinking that her little girl was telling her that she wasn’t doing enough for her and she was better than what she provided. This little girl also was responsible for making her own ramen on the stove for dinner at night. This was mind blowing and extremely sad to me. At that moment, I realized we need to do better.
The racism taught to us is everywhere. You hear it on the news. If there is a story about a man, it’s assumed he’s white because the news will always point out when it’s a black man. When there is a story about a black man, the news will always try to locate a mugshot of the man unlike a white man who raped a woman behind a dumpster and they post his senior picture instead. When it is a black man involved in a shooting, it’s a violent man. When it is a white man who has murdered multiple people in a church, he’s mentally unstable. This is why we are responsible. We have allowed this for tens of years.
Black Lives Matter. Anyone who says that All Lives Matter is saying this because they don’t believe that Black Lives Matter. They say this because they want to keep things the way they are. Saying “All lives matter” is bull shit. Of course all lives matter. If you honestly believe all lives matter, you will be the largest voice in the cry of Black Lives Matter.
This is an issue that needs to be resolved and we are responsible for resolving it. If we continue to just watch the news happen, things will not change. If we continue to not hold our elected officials responsible for the legislation and fear-mongering they are putting through, nothing will change. If we continue to not hold each other accountable for the words we use, we are responsible for each death that is occurring. If we don’t articulate that Black Lives Matter, we are saying we are okay with the way things are.
Black Lives Matter.