As a journalism student, it’s kind of my job to talk about everything that happens in the world, and I haven’t been doing that as much as I used to for a while now. There have been huge, insane, scary things going on as of late, but I’ve remained pretty quiet.
That’s not to say I don’t have thoughts about what’s happening in the world, because I have thousands of opinions, but I find myself struggling to be so narcissistic as to voice them when the sh*t that’s going on has nothing to do with me. In this case, I’m talking specifically about Black Lives Matter and the murders of innocent black people in the US.
Yes, I am a full and strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. I wholeheartedly believe that this country needs a serious reform on gun control and that the police need to be held to infinitely higher standards. That said, this isn’t about me. I am a dedicated advocate for equality and the fight to end racism, but I also acknowledge that I’m still white, and I’m very privileged to be white, and I will not let this be about me, because it’s not.
With that said, for those of you actually curious about my feelings on the subject, specifically to those of you who asked for them, here they are:
My heart shatters a little more every time I see yet another innocent person’s been murdered. It’s not a recent development, and that’s part of what makes it so much worse. Suddenly everything is Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter vs. Blue Lives Matter, but innocent black people have been getting systematically killed for centuries, and only the names of the movements are anything new.
Every time news breaks of an innocent black person being killed, I can’t help but think of Emmett Till. We learned about him in high school. A 14-year-old black boy lynched, brutally murdered to the point of being unrecognizable by a group of white men, for allegedly whistling at a white woman. That was 1955. It’s 2016. Why does this story of a black teenager being murdered by grown white men not sound completely far-fetched to us? Oh, I know, because it’s still f**king happening. Racism did not end with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s still here, and it’s thriving. It’s going to take a lot more than getting rid of the Jim Crow Laws to make it go away. Lookin’ at you, Congress.
On the subject of the Black/All/Blue Lives Matter movement(s), I’m finding myself getting really fed up with the incessant arguing that all lives matter. We KNOW all lives matter. Of course they do. But until people stop responding to “black lives matter” with “all lives matter,” we have to keep saying black lives matter. Again, if you’re white, this isn’t about you, just like it’s not about me. Your life matters, my life matters, but our lives aren’t in f**king danger. You don’t go to a breast cancer walk and say “screw you, people with lung cancer matter too.” Yeah, of course they do, but this isn’t your walk. All Lives Matter shouldn’t even be a movement, it’s literally just common sense. But guess what, ALM supporters, black lives fall under that “all” category you’re so fond of too. It’s a pretty big umbrella.
The Blue Lives Matter movement, on that note, makes me even angrier. How dare you try to compare your occupation, which you chose, to the color of someone’s skin? You weren’t born in a police uniform, and you get to take it off after your shift every day. No one forced you to become a cop. I’m not happy about the fact that cops are being murdered now too, because it’s still just more people dead, but until cops can bring themselves to admit that their other brothers in blue are wrong for killing innocent black citizens, all I have to say to them is good luck trying to find a single black person to sympathize with you. Just not killing black people is no longer good enough. I have faith that not every cop in this country is a racist cold-blooded murderer, but I don’t know if I have faith that any of them have the guts to take their uniform off after work and go stand on the other side of a Black Lives Matter protest.
A woman at a Black Lives Matter rally last week held a sign that read, “You’re blue 40 hours a week, I’m black 24/7 365.” That’s about all that needs to be said about that.
My heart goes out to the families of all of the innocent people who’ve been murdered. Gone too soon but never, ever forgotten.