Home for me is Danville, Virginia. I love my home for being part of the foundation for the person I’ve become, but it’s also one of the most racist places in America. Danville is the Last Capital of the Confederacy and the home of the largest confederate flag in the world. This is a place where I wouldn’t suggest trying to raise an interracial family without judgement. My high school history teacher had a passionate infatuation with Robert E. Lee and talked to us about it like it was actually okay. Needless to say, issues about race are near and dear to my heart.
Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of racially charged dialogue stemming from black people voicing the desire to not be unfairly killed by law enforcement. The wish not to be killed has been met with a lot of push-back. Some people do not feel that blacks (or “the blacks” if you’re a Trump supporter) should have the right to not get shot for things such as wearing a hoodie, playing with a toy gun in the park, failing to use a turn signal, selling cds, selling cigarettes, a wide-set nose, helping a mentally disabled client, living, etc.
I’ve been perplexed to say the least about the outrage that the words, “Black Lives Matter” have ignited. It really confused me at first because I thought about my friends who are all of mixed races and cultures, and how I would support them if they were being negatively targeted because of their race. Especially if it normalized due to a long history of systemic racism, oppression, and bigotry. While I have had a few friends of other races speak up, I’ve noticed that the majority have chosen to remain silent. Silence in itself speaks volumes.
I’ve also noticed the same ‘silent on black issues friends’ step up almost instantly to scream out “blue lives matter” (which isn’t a thing, stop trying to make it a thing) when a cop gets hurt or murdered. The black people who I know don’t want cops to get hurt or killed. Literally all we want is for them to treat us with humanity and to not shoot us for unjustified offenses.
Cops know the nature of their jobs when they sign up. It is a dangerous profession. Black people don’t get that choice. We don’t fill out an application and go through training to be black in America. We don’t get paid for it either.
So I have a question for all of you who have remained silent or who have come out of your mouths with ignorance in regards to everything that’s going on: Why don’t black live matter to you? Seriously, ask yourself. Please stop trying to prove that you don’t NOT care about black lives with arguments about black on black crime. Other non-relevant arguments are black people being disrespectful to the police &black people putting themselves in situations to get killed. You can also stop bringing up that some victims had records before being killed FOR NO REASON.
You’re the only person in your head now so no one knows that you’re racist besides you. Don’t lie to yourself. Just acknowledge that at your core you really don’t care about black people dying. Maybe you feel like we’re disposable and worthless, or that the police are actually doing America a favor when they kill another unarmed black person, or that police should kill more of us so that we can stop living off the system while we sit at home eating Bon Bons, or whatever other false stereotypes that you have about the black race.
Once you acknowledge the underlying issues that you have with the black community, you can then re-frame your thinking. Read a book about race in America. Read the Bible and understand that the things you’re feeling and thinking go directly against the teachings of Christ (those scriptures about the treatment of other people include black people too…if you didn’t know). Talk to an actual black person about how these issues affect their family and friends. Take a class on African-American history. Learn more about systemic racism.
The majority won’t take any of my suggestions. At the end of the day if you already don’t care about the lives of black people, you probably won’t care enough to make the effort. But if you are the exception, maybe one day black lives will matter to you too.
*This article was originally featured on LinenandSalt.com