I know I may be strewn for this one…. I may be one of the very (very very) few who sees things this way…. but I, for one, can not bite my tongue any longer. I have been reading far (far) too many debates on Facebook lately with regards to the vastly growing #blacklivesmatter campaign, and I am getting sucked into the slews of comments, debates, posts, etc. that I find it hard to even encapsulate my thoughts neatly into a coherent statement of what I’d like to reiterate within these debates.
A few weeks back, I stated to my older two kids how many Black Lives Matter signs I had seen on my drive to the grocery store that day, and just how much this sign was troubling me. We delved into a pretty deep discussion about it, and I expressed to them, that yes, there are some serious racism issues going on in this country. Yes, there are some major issues within humanity. But what irks me so much about this sign or campaign is that ALL lives should matter. The campaign should read **all** lives matter. I truly don’t care what is “implied” in the #blacklivesmatter sign or campaign simply because what is implied is always left open to interpretation. Those interpretations then create bigger debates. Bigger debates lead to larger problems. And yes, I know, I know…. someone is going to read my statements and say “Yes, ALL lives DO matter, but right NOW we are concentrating on black lives.”
Welp…. you know what…. it is exactly this Black Lives Matter campaign that is bringing about BIGGER issues. Bigger problems. We are now all focusing on this campaign. Creating more hype. Creating more hysteria. Creating more FEAR and ANGER. Creating MORE.OF.THE.PROBLEM.WE.ARE.TRYING.TO.CORRECT!!!!
With most socially contextual conversations with my kids, I always sit with them to contemplate “where is this person coming from?” I encourage them to think of their back story. What is it that has made them who they are today? What has taken part in shaping and molding their character? And what is that we can truly appreciate about this person, so that we may see beyond our differences to grow acceptance and appreciation? As with this whole campaign, I encourage them to see that yes…. indeed…. racism is a HUGE issue in this country. Seriously no joke here. Horrible injustices have been done, and the media has done an excellent job to portray that for our world to then retaliate and “stand against” something we don’t like. But (1) what about all of the other injustices in the world that are also not getting the media exposure for us to stand “against”?? …. and (2) and likely the most importantly….. why don’t we stand for what we are FOR!!!
We are FOR peace. We are FOR equality. We are FOR acceptance. We are FOR love. We are FOR folks being fed, clothed & housed. We are FOR humanity. We are FOR ethical justices. There are SOOOO many things that we can stand FOR…. Why is the entire world standing *against* racism???
As our discussion went on that evening, we pulled out a computer to check the hash tag campaigns on many different issues. Here is a list of what we could think of at that time, and what we discovered when we looked it up (keep in mind these numbers were from a few weeks back…. may have changed by now):
#blacklivesmatter – 1,005,816
#gaylivesmatter – 1,018
#asianlivesmatter – 801
#mexicanlivesmatter – 236
#muslimlivesmatter – 42,129
#humanitymatter – 259
#alllivesmatter – 189,698
#livesmatter – 9,060
#christianlivesmatter – 1,974
#repressedwomenlivesmatter – 0
#womenslivesmatter – 20
#childrenslivesmatter – 113
#immigrantlivesmatter – 91
Some of these numbers left us in awe. We discussed the issues in the country and around the world are vast. Please don’t try to lecture any one of us about what needs to be “concentrated on at this time.” Truth be told, you won’t sway my mind on this. I feel, and feel deeply that we are not doing any good to any one any where by raging this campaign. I feel (deeply) that this is creating mass hysteria quite frankly. We are bringing so much more fear into the country and its every-so-prevalent issue of racism, that this will never go away harping on what we *don’t* want. We as a country are feeding fuel to the fire and the fire is blazing.
Think about the numbers of stories you have seen lately just pouring out about racial profiling. I am dismayed at the number I have read as of late. And I can’t help but feel that we are brining more and more of this about with the concentration that every decision ever made, in any given instance/situation, is made simply based on race. Likewise, I am feeling sad for the cops of the country who may now feel they are under microscopic scrutiny. I mean…. yes, there have been some who have made horrific mistakes which have caused a mass distress with in the realm of racism. But these instances can not then be blanketed to the country’s armed men and women who are out there striving to serve and protect. I simply can not imagine the fear they must feel in any given situation… whether their life is at danger and/or whether they will return home to their families that night.
Likewise, during this growing campaign, my husband was in a situation, late at night, coming home from work, where he received a ride from a friend who was pulled over. This person happened to have pending issues that hubby was not aware of. My first question to him was, “uh…. were you scared out of your mind?” He simply said, “no, I had not done anything wrong, so I had nothing to worry about.” But…. my head, my mind… went straight to the notion that maybe he should have been petrified! A black man driving near midnight in the car with a Hispanic man who has some pending issues… Why the heck wouldn’t one worry with all that’s been seen or heard? This is the type of fear that this campaign is instilling in each and every one of us, and this truly is no way to live!
I worry that our kids (future generations) are growing in a society where we need to stand “against” something or we are not standing up at all. I am also concerned that folks ranting and raving about the racists… or the ignorant folks… or the ‘this’ or the ‘that’…. are truly not bringing about any positive changes by frankly…. being discriminatory themselves. You may very well be speaking truths, but you are no different if you, in turn, are bashing and portraying anger and hatred. Yes, there are folks out there who are quite racist. Yes, there are folks that are acting out of mere self ignorance. There are folks that will never ever change that in themselves. These are not the people to be wasting energy and high strung emotions on. Energy must be focused on the good we can bring about. Energy must be focused on what we can stand FOR. Energy must be focused on the fact that indeed. ALL lives DO matter. Or we are just creating more of what we claim we don’t want.
I stand for equality. I stand for peace. I stand for ALL lives DO matter.
The end…. let me step down from my soapbox and get me some shut eye.