We Are Not the Same, And That’s the Point

This weekend has been filled with charged emotions resulting from the latest murder of an unarmed black man named George Floyd. Some of his last words were words spoken by another murdered black man, Eric Garner. “I can’t breathe.” We are now living in a world where police violence is taking center stage, not because it’s blowing up now, but because it’s being overwhelmingly filmed bringing a spotlight on more and more instances of brutality. The Internet has become quite a tool in pushing injustices out of the shadows, but it’s also made haters more emboldened to share more hate and misinformation to fuel further division.  As much as those saying “we’re all in this together”, “all lives matter”, and “I don’t see color” mean well, it all misses the point by a wide margin. All lives cannot matter until black lives matter. All lives cannot matter until black people can live their lives without fear of stepping outside for any reason no matter how they look, dress or function. For those who say they don’t see color? I’m sure most of you mean well but taking away our blackness is not how to approach things. We WANT you to see our color. We want you to acknowledge it. We want you to be willing to learn about us to build a bridge to understand our inherited pain, weariness, anger, fear and sadness. We don’t want you to take our blackness away so you can feel comfortable in dealing with us. We want you to accept it as you would your own race. While we are all part of the human race, until all races can live their lives without fear of deadly prejudice, we cannot be in this together. We need solidarity beyond the black community. We need true allies. We need people who are willing to stand with us all the way. We’re tired of hearing that we should have done this, we should be less threatening, we should “stay in our place”. We’re tired of being placed under foot or under knees or under weapons. We’re tired of living in fear. We’re tired of being in constant mourning. We’re tired of constantly being on guard. We’re tired of having to ask for permission just to live. We’re tired of constantly keeping the receipts of all the injustices and still being told it’s not good enough and isn’t important. See us. Believe us. Stand with us. Stand FOR us. Let us stop reliving the trauma of our race. Stop going to war on us. We want peace but we’re pushed into violence. I don’t endorse violence. I don’t endorse destruction. But I understand how overwhelming frustration can bubble up into something more explosive. I do understand how the path to true peace is sometimes on the other side of a lot of uncomfortable actions. If you want to see this end, so do we. If you’re uncomfortable, so are we. Change begins at the end of your comfort zone. So, if there is to be a real change from repeating the sins of the past, we’re going to have to get really uncomfortable. It is time to change the status quo and take a real look at history and how our refusal to acknowledge all the wrongs of the past has doomed us to be in our current reality of the repetitions of those wrongs. So please get uncomfortable. Get so uncomfortable that you are willing to open your eyes, ears and hearts and are ready to finally make the necessary changes. Let’s get to work.