As so many writers before me (and much better ones, at that), I stepped up to the mantle of writer because I felt I had things to say. Things that would make the world a better place. Things that would lift others up, or to take a stand.
Normally I restrict my Sunday night posts to uplifting notes to take into the beginning of the week. Tonight I don’t feel I can do that. Not with current events.
I can’t go into tomorrow with a positive thought if I don’t say what’s on my mind. The world is pretty messed up right now.
People are protesting wearing masks because it violates their rights, or they find it uncomfortable to breathe through, or they just don’t want to – all of these reasons I’ve heard as well as some others (conspiracies and tin foil hats have been running amok). I have to say that I’d rather wear my mask – which yes, it is hard to breathe in, it is very uncomfortable, I definitely do NOT like it … buuuut, here’s a big hairy but coming up – but I would much rather not take chances with not wearing it and bringing the virus home to my family, or unwittingly spreading the virus to someone that doesn’t have the immune system or health insurance (or the list goes on), and then someone else getting it because I just couldn’t grow up enough to do the right thing instead of the selfish thing.
Next, the things I am hearing from people from all sides about the police brutality against Black people. I’m going to start with the one that a lot of people are guilty of saying when they genuinely are just too ignorant to know better (and once upon a time I was as ignorant, and it’s just important to get this straightened out right away). “All Lives Matter”. Well yes, ALL lives matter. No one is discounting this. The confusion comes because people don’t understand what Black Lives Matter means. So I’m going to help out here. When one says Black Lives Matter it means they are willing to stand against police brutality against this marginalized group of people because until Black Lives Matter we should know that NO Lives Matter. My life is no more important than a Black person – my privilege as a White person has enabled me to not truly understand the fear that this group of people go through every day.
Not every Black person will be brutalized by the police. But every Black person has felt some level of racism in their lives. Can all White people say the same? If I were pulled over for speeding I would not be afraid. If I walked to the store after dark I am only afraid because I am a woman – and even then my fear is minimal in comparison because the people I have to fear are not in a uniform, are not above the law, are not supposed to be trusted.
I have seen so many news stories about Black people who were attacked by the police – jogging, driving, walking home, in their own homes – and it sickens me that we can sit here and look down our very safe noses at the anger and outrage among a group of people who have been beaten down time and time again. There is looting going on. SO what? Can you sit there and honestly say that if your community was brutalized, beaten, murdered, shamed, spit on, looked down at, marginalized, and so many other horrific things we more privileged people can’t even list, can you honestly say you wouldn’t lash out? Would you really want to sit peacefully and just keep taking it until someone maybe decided they should stop?
People have pointed to Martin Luther King, JR and the fact that he did not need riots or looting or violence to change the world. And maybe that is true. But there was violence, and riots, and looting going on while Dr. King marched for peace. And he was murdered for it. And very little has changed.
So if you believe that ALL LIVES MATTER please take a stand to make sure that they all do by standing up for those who have been told over and over again that their lives don’t matter.
Please take this time to educate yourself.