The Great Divide

police lives matter, Black lives matter, Black Pride, Blue Lives Matter, race relations, racism, Institutionalized racism

A local police officer in my area died recently and it was a terribly tragic story. He was a war veteran, a husband, a father of two young children…it was the kind of story that makes your heart wrench. I felt for those involved when I first heard about it. I thought, “How sad!” ” What a shame!” “Those poor children!” It was a senseless loss of life. I hate senseless loss, and this one from some lunatic who got a hold of the officer’s gun. It was just such a shame.

As the days went on, I saw the expected outpouring of sadness, shock and condolences in my community. It seemed I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the color blue, flags, ribbons, charities, so many acts of remembrance and honor for this man. He deserved every bit and more. I knew this…but in my spirit, something was becoming unsettled. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I began to feel resentful of the concern and support I was seeing. Then I turned around and felt incredibly guilty about that resentment. As much as I tried to perish the thought, I couldn’t help wondering, as I looked at a “Blue Lives Matter” sign, why does no one in my community seem to give a crap when one of MY people is murdered senselessly?

Now, maybe to some readers that might seem petty. “This man died tragically in service. Why do you feel the need to bring up some kind of ‘Black Lives Matter’ agenda?” I imagine them saying. Well…because it applies. People act like there’s this Great Divide when it comes to Black people dying on the streets. As if, we had it coming while everyone else is an unfortunate victim. It’s the classic “Us” vs. “Them” mentality. But if I’ve learned anything from the past few days, its that we’re not at all different. We all feel and hurt the same, and if that much is true, then why are we being treated differently? The hard truth is, in my mostly White, slightly more conservative area, #BlackLivesMatter is met with indifference and sometimes even with aggression. I could very easily imagine some vandalism issues if a Black Lives Matter sign or Black Pride fist had been hung in solidarity following the deaths of Eric Garner and the like. One woman went on and on to me about this officer’s death and I sat there in silence because I couldn’t help but remember her own silence about Trayvon Martin and her discomfort when I brought up how sad it was, as if she didn’t want to speak her mind on the subject. I know many people like this, people who are outraged by one scenario but not the other. My question, and that of many others, is WHY?!

My community was so affected by the recent death of this officer because they felt a common connection to him. It was one of their own. Their protector, a local man at that, was lost and it was violently unfair. Is it hard to understand then, how I, as a Black woman, feel that same connection and that same sadness when I see an unarmed Black man gunned down on the street? When I read stories of Black children threatened with guns to their heads by the same police who are supposed to protect them? More to the point, if I as a Black woman can feel sadness and sympathy for this poor officer’s tragedy….why can’t some of my neighbors and the rest of the “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” advocates around this country, have that same sympathy for my people? Why is it ok to so many that we are disproportionately incarcerated and even killed on the streets in staggering numbers? Why, in 2018, do people of color still have to remind so many White people that we are one of you too? that we MATTER?

Black Lives Matter was started to bring light to police brutality and fight for change and against racial bias in our criminal justice system. “Police/Blue Lives Matter” was only created to be a counterargument to the former. There is no difference in loss between Black or White, Officer or Civilian, and this divide we’ve created is imaginary. Wrong is wrong, justice is justice, love is LOVE and we are all humans, first and foremost.  I am not angry at my community’s love and support for the fallen officer. I’m proud of them. It proves they are more than capable of solidarity and empathy. I’m angry that I don’t see that same love all across the board. It’s the overwhelming failure in understanding, the lack of humanity, the insane disconnect in this nation that’s agonizingly painful for me to experience daily. If you have a Police Lives Matter bumper sticker, why not a Black Lives Matter one right beside it? One is ok, but not the other. That is my issue in a nutshell. That officer should not have lost his life that day….and guess what? Trayvon Martin shouldn’t have died either. Philando Castile should not have died. Nia Wilson should not have died and Tamir Rice most certainly should not have died. Rest in Peace and God Bless Them All.

**Further Information: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/admist-the-escalating-racial-relations-in-america-it-doesnt-have-to-be-blue-lives-vs-black-lives
***Image taken from http://www.theodysseyonline.com

Yes, We Matter…And Yes, You Do TOO

BLM Collage

I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to cut all you #AllLivesMatter ranters some slack out of misplaced sympathy towards your completely insensitive ignorance….I’m done now. I honestly cannot begin to understand why people are still ok with using that phrase. I’m browsing through comment sections like, honestly? This is really still a thing?? The reason why that phrase is disrespectful has been explained So Many Times I can’t count. In case you missed it:

#BlackLivesMatter was created because the Black community felt the need to state what should be obvious but clearly isn’t: that Black people matter. We are human beings the same as anyone else, citizens of this country that deserve equal treatment, opportunities and protection. We all are supposed to have these rights but when you look at our nation that is simply not the case (cop killings, media portrayals, incarceration rates). This is why people began to verbalize it, a way to say, “Hey, we matter TOO! Its about time we fixed this!” More or less when you say, “All lives matter” you’re downplaying the simple statement that Black people matter, that our lives matter. “Black Lives Matter” does not say that others don’t matter.  It’s not anti-police or anti-White.  We’re reminding the world that we matter TOO because that is easily forgotten. “All lives matter” is something said to shut us up and keep us in our place rather than raise us up. We don’t want to be raised over everyone else. We want equal treatment, and that goes for other races as well.  When Black Lives Matter gained speed I also saw a lot more publicity on Latino and especially Native American issues. This is about everybody. “Black Lives Matter” is simply a slogan started by the Black community because we were talking about problems specific to us that we’ve been struggling with for too long. But we’re not saying other races don’t have issues or don’t need raising up.  We all should be on the same level.

Now, most people get this by now but some of you guys are way behind the curve.  The even sadder part is that now  when people use it they almost say it like an attack…which is exactly what it is. “Police lives matter” also gained popularity which is arguably even more vile. We all know all police aren’t murderers and yes their lives matter…but why was the Black lives Matter movement started to begin with (refer to previous paragraph)? People were protesting largely in response to recent killings by police of unarmed Black men. Now “Police lives matter” has become a rebuttal and I have one more reason to never eat at Chik-fil-A again *sigh*. Anyway, I’m not trying to convert anyone over to the movement. I just needed to vent and I wish people would be more mindful of what they’re saying and what it really means. Do you care about Black lives? If yes, don’t say all lives matter or blue/police lives matter. If no, well, you know what THAT means and you can say what you like but I strongly advise you take a look at your life and sense of morality. That’s all.