For months I have been drafting something on this subject, but have not published until today. I suspect this will be the first in a line of posts that will ruffle feathers, but I've never been one to shy away from conflict and this is one I consider worth my energy. The intention of these posts is not to offend or upset, although I realize that will happen, it is to help us love our neighbors. Or maybe just realize who our neighbors are...
Over the last year I have posted statements of solidarity with an oppressed population of people. When I first began posting these statements, I did not realize how many people it would upset. I did not realize how many people in my social media would fiercely oppose this idea of standing with a group of people who are being oppressed. I certainly did not realize that it would go so far as being trolled by people I once considered friends.
Standing with the oppressed is something I believe in because I am a Christian, not in spite of it. I believe that when there are people who are pushed down, it is my call to stand with them and say "this is not okay!" or rather, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven!"
There is no shortage of injustice in the world. Violence happens in every corner, in every culture. It happens among people who look the same, and it happens against people who look, speak, and believe differently. We live in a fallen world and this is just the way things are. However, I think we can all agree, this is not the way things should be.
The #blacklivesmatter movement was born as a response to historical and systemic injustice. It was never a statement that meant "black lives matter MORE" or "other lives don't matter". Anyone who is affiliated with this movement has said that the silent word at the end of the phrase "black lives matter" is "TOO" or "ALSO" or "AS MUCH AS OTHER LIVES". It is not excluding white lives, blue lives, rich lives etc. It is a plea for their lives to matter as much as the aforementioned. If you are violently objecting my use of this phrase you either A.) don't believe that black lives matter as much as other lives or B.) still do not understand what it means.
Now, some of you are probably really angry right now. You may be saying:
1. "But all lives matter!" or
2. "But that guy killed those cops in Dallas!" or
3. You are convinced that the only way to get beyond racial injustice is to pretend it does not exist ie, "we have to come together! we can't talk about race! talking about race only divides us!" or
4. "I have black friends and they don't feel this way."
1. Yes, all lives matter. But right now, there are oppressed people who are asking to be seen and heard. Let's open our eyes and ears and hear their stories.
2. That was a horrible tragedy. It has shaken many selfless law enforcement officers and their families to their core. But that psycho on a rooftop no more speaks for #blacklivesmatter than the Westboro Baptist Church speaks for all Christians.
3. Yes, we need to come together. But ignoring racial injustice does not bring unity. Honest dialogue about real issues brings unity. Crying with those who mourn brings unity.
4. Maybe this is true, it is not my place to say how anyone else feels. But, maybe you guys aren't really "friends". (A test of this would be to ask yourself, "how often do we eat together? how often do we talk about real stuff?")
Tune in tomorrow for my top 3 reasons white folks don't believe in systemic racism...