I’m sitting with this…this feeling of sadness and anger. Yet again, my blackness has given another individual enough fear to take an innocent life… Those who know me well know that I show up in love. Even when it gets hard, I try. But I need to address something.
Black lives matter…they really do. I need to unpack this for some of you because there are many who just don’t understand what people mean when they hear, Black Lives Matter. What I often hear from others, especially those who are not people of color is that, “All Lives Matter”. I realized that even though we hear and see, “Black Lives Matter”, what people who don’t understand this see and hear is, “ONLY Black Lives Matter.” I have even recently seen a Facebook post stating, “Blue Lives Matter” and encourage folks to purchase a license plate to “drive” in solidarity to support police who put their lives on the line.
Friends, please hear me. We know that blue lives matter. We know that all lives matter. That’s the whole point of Black Lives Matter. I repeat, that’s the whole point of Black Lives Matter. You see, when we have black people who die for simply being black, the feeling is that no one cares and black lives don’t matter. Unfortunately, we see this time and time again. Black lives are being executed. Black Lives Matter people. We have to recognize that.
You see, so much of this is about fear of black bodies. Imagine if we just took some time to really address that. There is an inherent fear of people who look like me. As a well-educated, middle class black man, it’s horrible to realize that by the very nature of my blackness, I can cause fear by just being me. In the words of Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, there is a pervasive “single story” of what it means to be black. It’s fear of blackness that causes one to address a black individual or group and BEGIN with aggression and hands on weapons vs seeing us as human. It’s truly sad to think that no matter what I do, my accomplishments, status, position, etc. does not matter because when others see my black body, all they see is a threat. Therefore, when I’m reduced down to only being considered as a threat, it’s easy for someone to justify terminating my life. We’ve got to stop this, people. It’s horrible that whenever I get pulled over by police, I fear for my life. Black lives need to matter to everyone. Unfortunately, for many people, black lives don’t matter. We’ve got to do better.