|My warning to you... this may be intense.|
<< method to madness, please continue >>It's popped up quite a bit on my social media feeds over the last few weeks which warranted a response with this blog post. I can promise you this... I won't be offended if you don't agree with what is written below, but so long as you keep an open mind, we'll both get something out of it.
|For Real This Time...|
I feel this strong need to join the conversation, and perhaps maybe start one with you. I want to do my best in answering some of the questions/statements I've seen on my feeds. I hope being who I am can shed a little perspective from the viewpoint of someone you know. Even if you don't know me personally, I hope I can emit some light on an incredibly dim situation.
The protest is against the police brutality against those of color that has been occurring in recent days/weeks/months (but has been going on for generations, but that's besides the point). It's not about the flag. It's not to say all cops are bad. We know they're not, but hat isn't the point. When someone of color is murdered by an officer of the law on film, the case goes to trial (or in other cases it gets thrown out), and the officer in question is placed on paid administrative leave, the response shouldn't entail "All Lives Matter". We get that, but again, that's not the point either.
Just as a reference point (told you... facts), for those who may be thinking there is blatant disrespect to the anthem and what it stands for, here is a stanza from the Star Spangled Banner that may or may not have been the "tipping point" for what sparked this conversation/controversy...
No refuge could save
The hireling and slave
From the terror of flight,
Or the gloom of the grave:...
If you are unsure of what this particular stanza actually means, it glorifies slavery in the worst way. Granted it is no longer a part of the anthem that is sung, but just because it's not sung does not mean it doesn't exist. So when Mr. 49ers QB decides "enough is enough" and takes a knee, quietly (which by the way, he had done a couple of weeks before anyone noticed), it bothers so many people. Why?
But so much progress has been made, why is this such a big deal?
You know something? You are right. A great deal of progress has been made, but when a woman is killed in custody because of a broken tail light, a man is killed for selling CDs in front a convenient store, a man's car has broken down, he has his hands up, he's unarmed and he's murdered, unfortunately, a large amount of that "progress" goes to shit.
You may (as well as are entitled to) believe what you'd like to and continue to think that racism doesn't exist but it's hard to not believe the facts that are presented. Sure, some of you may be saying/thinking, "Well, he didn't comply with the law." "He should've done what was asked of him." "We don't know what happened up to that point." All valid points. You know what else is valid within these points? Murder. You have to admit, it's hard to argue that. And yet, the fact that so many people are in actuality arguing against this point... THAT makes it a "big deal".
Why now? What's the point?
There will never be a perfect time to deal with anything that makes society uncomfortable. Change, of any kind, can be a scary thing and when people are pushed beyond their comfort zones, one of two things can happen: change or regression. I'm not sure about you, but I am beyond heartbroken to continue to read/watch/hear the news of yet another black male who was unarmed and murdered by an authoritative figure for reasons that will never make sense. I am beyond heart broken that when people of color are telling to society to "Stop Killing Us" and the response is "But...". I'm beyond heart broken to see the grainy cell phone video of someone's father, brother, uncle, son murdered for reasons my brain will never comprehend. So you ask, "Why now?" My response, "why NOT now?"
Again, let me apologize for the insertion of yet another disclaimer, but I want to keep reminding those of you that have made it this far in reading this post this is how I'm currently feeling about everything that has been going on. And before the rebuttals begin with all of the gusto about race, socioeconomic status of Mr. 49ers QB or the fact that you think he's being an " ungrateful brat", hear me out.
Then here comes Mr. 49ers QB and this idea of not standing. I'll admit, I was a little thrown off by it as I'm sure many of you were as well. I, too thought it was disrespectful to the values of this country, but the devil's advocate in me thought "Well, he has the right to protest how a certain demographic is being treated, does he not?". Then I did some research as to WHY he took a knee.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong (no, seriously, please do), doesn't the first amendment afford him this right to take a knee, peacefully? He's a citizen of this country who has exercised his right to free speech (or in this case, not to speak), yet... his peaceful protest is a problem. He could've rioted, marched, used his celebrity status to voice some choice words that would've sparked national outrage. He took a knee, quietly... and that's what sparked the "outrage". It's no disrespect to those who have put their lives on the line so that he may be afforded these freedoms. However, when his black counterparts are being murdered without any form of justice, I ask with the utmost sincerity, where does the "disrespect" really come into play?
When our founders were constructing the constitution and the freedoms of its people, they were not for all men to be created equal under God. Sure, it's a nice notion, but let's keep it 100 here. These were written at the HEIGHT of slavery. Can you, in good faith, honestly believe that a black man living in this country thinks he has the exact same freedoms that are afforded to his white peers when he's followed in a store? Wearing a hoodie? Holding his hands up and informing law enforcement that he is a medical professional trying to help his patient, but is still shot anyway? I sure don't, and I can't imagine that you honestly believe that either.
I'm going to be brutally honest here. If you are not a person of color, have not experienced what it feels/fears like to be a person of color in this country, there is no way to fully comprehend what's going on. And you know something? That's okay! Seriously, it's okay. Most people of color aren't looking for your understanding. We are looking for your compassion, acknowledgment and comprehension of the severity of what's been occurring to our people for generations.
If I may provide an example that could provide a legitimate example as to what's happening. Imagine you're Jewish and someone tells you "the Holocaust" never happened. 6 million people weren't murdered. Families weren't ripped apart at the seams and Hitler wasn't as bad of a guy history made him out to be... it's the same thing! The evidence proved that this atrocity actually happened and to this day, people will still question it's validity. Sound familiar?
So when we say "Black Lives Matter", it means we matter too. Our ancestors paved a road drenched in blood, doused in tears, and for what? To be murdered with our hands up by those who took an oath to protect us? You can feel the tears flowing from their graves knowing this isn't what they fought for...
Frederick led the anti-slavery movement. Toussant led a revolt against slavery. Rosa sat in the front of the bus. Malcolm preached of equality and peace. They, along with many others, all mattered. Their lives mattered. The lives of the Sandra Blands, the Alton Sterlings, the Treyvon Martins... they ALL mattered. You can continue to express the notion of "All Lives Matter. The first amendment affords you that right, but understand this... All Lives Will Matter When Black Lives Do. It's that simple.
I am aware I may not have hit on all points you may have thought I would have with this blog post. There was so much more I wanted to write, but enough is enough, in more ways than one. I am open to any conversation you'd want to have with me regarding this. I am not here to fight / argue / change the beliefs of any who reads this. I am merely writing this as a means of release for myself, for anyone else who's heart may be hurting but didn't know how to express the pain they may be feeling, for any exchange of peaceful dialogue... or none at all. My hope is there will be a continuing of conversations and the coming of some understanding of what it could feel like to be on the other side of all of this... whatever that may look like to you.
|I wish I knew who drew this. What a horrifically powerful drawing...|
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope this has, in some way, opened your eyes. If it didn't, that is okay too. Again, this isn't meant to have you agree with what was written. You've done more than you know just by making it to the end of this post. That,... is a start xoxox