Note: I initially posted this on Facebook. But things on Facebook have a tendency to get lost in the noise. Better to also preserve it here in the musty silence of my blog.
Seeing some pretty extreme responses on social media from some white people in the wake of the past few days’ events. If I could say anything to white people who are scared and/or angry and/or, God forbid, arming themselves for a race war, it would be this:
Social justice is not a zero sum game. You don’t have to do worse for others to do better. To quote the late, great Paul Wellstone, “We all do better when we all do better.”
You may have a vision of what “America” is, or what an “American” is, and that vision may be a particular color. But Americans who aren’t white are still Americans, just as much as you are.
Black Americans who are reacting to their friends and relatives being gunned down by police at routine — far too routine for many of them — traffic stops have a right to be scared, and angry. But Black Lives Matter is not about revenge. It’s not about starting a war. It’s about JUSTICE. About bringing more PEACE to our streets, our cities, our country. It’s about the “American” in “African American.”
At least, that’s how I see it. And living in the city, I’m probably in much closer proximity to BLM than most white Americans who are themselves scared or angry right now. So please, don’t be. Stop. Listen. Think. Feel. Understand.
Our fellow Americans who weren’t born with the inherited privileges conferred by white skin are living under the burden our ancestors placed on them — a burden that we perpetuate every day that we don’t actively acknowledge and work to counteract it. Hear their voices. Amplify them. Don’t silence them.
And when something happens like the shootings in Dallas, wait for the facts. BLM is a peaceful movement. Dallas PD has a good relationship with BLM. Officers were there to PROTECT the BLM marchers. The shooters do not represent Black Lives Matter or its goals.
I could go on, but I’ve already spoken too long. But don’t stop listening. Seek out those voices that are demanding peace and justice and hear what they are saying. And I will continue trying to do the same.