Racism. Racism is the matter. Not the kind of racism that caused George Floyd’s death, but the kind that overlooks that death and minimizes it by lumping Mr. Floyd and ourselves into one big group with phrases and hashtags like #alllivesmatter. The kind of racism that exists when we use words like “they” and “those people”. STOP THAT.
If you have an open mind, keep reading. If not, I’m sorry. Not for me. For you. Stop reading if you have to.
When we hear of an atrocity against one of God’s children like us we grieve. What about for those who are different from us?
Did you cover your profile pic with the French flag when the 2015 Paris bombings occurred? What?! Are you French? Did you #Prayfor Vegas after the outdoor concert shooting? What?! Were you there? Do you grieve when an American soldier dies? Do you know him or her personally? Do you hurt for the mom who lost her child to a drunk driver or a school shooter or a sex trafficker because you have a child just that age? OF COURSE YOU DO/DID. Even though it isn’t/wasn’t you. That’s my point. If each of these instances is worthy of your hashtag, your prayers, your grief, and they are, why not our black brothers and sisters?
I know all lives matter. Of course they do, we are children of God created in His image. Jesus loves the little children. All of them. Ever wonder why the composer of those lyrics put white children last? My guess is it wasn’t out of humility, but for the beauty of the rhyme. Check this out. The children’s song we sing is only the chorus. Read this last verse:
I am coming, Lord, to Thee,
And Your soldier I will be,
For You love the little children of the world;
And Your cross I’ll always bear,
And for You I’ll do and dare,
For You love the little children of the world.“
~Herbert C. Woolston (1856 – 1927) (hymntime.com)
Are we really ready to be the soldiers Jesus needs us to be to stand up for our fellow man–red, yellow, black, and white??
Back to the conversation at hand. Yes, all of our lives matter. Here’s the thing, though. Some lives don’t have to be reminded that they matter. Some lives question every single day IF theirs matter. Think about that.
Were we sympathetic to the trials of the Class of 2020 because they didn’t get the pomp and circumstance as previous classes? Did we participate in some action to “feel for them”? Why? If all grads matter, why do they get special treatment?
Have we moms looked at our daughters living in a man’s world and told them that they are just as (if not more) capable, just as (if not more) strong, and just as (if not more) worthy? Why? If all genders matter, our daughters don’t need that reassurance.
Have we attended rallies or parades, or stood up for those with a different religion, moral compass, or sexual orientation as us? Why? If all lives matter, where is the place for religious tolerance or acceptance of others’ differences?
Have we attended or donated to a fundraiser for the homeless? the abused? the critically and terminally ill? Why? Why single anyone out for a plight that isn’t mine if all lives matter?
I have family and dear friends who risk their lives as law enforcers locally, statewide, and worldwide. Their lives matter, and you can never argue with me that they don’t. I wholeheartedly believe in the inherent good of the men and women who risk their lives to protect us because the ones I know are prepared to love, serve, and die for their fellow man. Don’t we single them out? Don’t #bluelivesmatter? You bet your bottom dollar they do! But here’s the thing. If #alllivesmatter, why do they need a hashtag either?
I have family and dear friends who are people of color. Their lives matter, and you can never argue with me that they don’t. I have relationships with people of color that make my life fuller and more meaningful. If our answer was yes to ANY of the questions I posed above, and so many more, then #blacklivesmattertoo, and we can’t deny it. I’m just saying.
If you believe in the rights of the marginalized populations I have mentioned already, I beg of you to believe in and honor the rights of the populations you disagree with.
I believe in your right to use the hastags #girlpower #prayforvegas #classof2020quaratine #blacklivesmatter #bluelivesmatter, etc. What I do have a problem with is #ALLlives matter being our acceptable substitute. For using it as our way of saying we’re better than a group of people, AND for using it as a substitute for only ONE of the groups of God’s people. I would never say back to my LEO friends, “Yeah, I hear you when you say #bluelivesmatter, but don’t you think #ALLlivesmatter?” Right. Neither would you.
I heard a story of racism last night. I cried. When I was in second/third grade I was a member of the local brownie troop. I LOVED wearing my orange socks, khaki jumper, and beanie to school on meeting days. I met my very best friend for the first time in brownies. I learned last night that two women I love and respect also had grown up seeing the other girls in uniform and wanted to be part of the group. One day, while I was dressed in uniform along with the rest of the troop, one of these friends of mine asked a fellow brownie how she could be part of the troop. She was told, “Black girls can’t be brownies.” I am 41 years older than I was in fourth grade, and I just now found this out. This was my friend’s first experience with racism, and I was part of it. I’m sure she never looked at any of us the same. We grew close in high school through clubs and activities, and I never had any idea. What if she had gone home to someone who didn’t look her in the eye and tell that girl lives matter and black lives matter and she could do anything she wanted? What if? Our world would never be the same. Also, today, after I told them how heartbreaking this story was, one of those friends of mine told me that I was never the source of racism against her and it’s okay. You know, what? No, it’s not. It’s not okay. Bless her! Think on that.
Quick note: I do have a problem with looting and destroying the property of others. I do not have a problem with protests. Protests are the reason I get to vote. Protests are the reason I can worship like I want. Protests are the reason my job exists. I do have a problem that so many of my friends have a problem with it because the protesters don’t look like them, but that’s my problem I guess.