02 June 2020

all lives matter vs. black lives matter

I want to make this personal, and give you a visual. 

I have six kids. Four are white, two are black. All of their lives matter to me. This is an obvious statement coming from their mother, I'm guessing.

But, four of them will never need us to fight for their equality with them. Four of them don't need me to have a conversation about what to do if they encounter a police officer. Like, where to put their hands or to say their names out loud and assure the officer that they aren't carrying any kind of weapon. Or that the pack of skittles in their pocket isn't actually a gun. Four of them don't need constant reassurance that they are valued just as much as their siblings even though their skin is darker than mine and they've heard people talking about how that's a bad thing. Four of them will probably never come home upset because someone used a racial slur or told a stupid white joke about them. Four of them will probably never have to defend innocent behavior like pumping gas at night or driving or walking or running in a white neighborhood. Four of them likely won't be followed around a store to make sure they're staying out of trouble. Four of them won't worry that if they forget their keys and have to climb through a bedroom window in their own home the police could come and arrest them, or worse - shoot them. They won't have to worry that they will "fit a description" of a criminal just because their skin is the same color as someone who committed a crime. They will probably never worry that they will be told that they are in the "wrong neck of the woods" when they're in less diverse areas.

So yes, all of my kids lives matter to me. I would die for each of them. But two of them need to hear it over and over and over and over from me because most of society and all of history is telling them something different.

I'd urge you, if your temptation is to respond to a post or write your own and insist that "all lives matter", to spend some time in conversation with someone that has experienced racism. Or read a book, listen to someone sharing their personal stories online (they're pretty easy to find right now and I am so grateful for that)... be open to hearing why it is so necessary to reassure our black brothers and sisters that their lives matter to us. It doesn't diminish the worth of anyone else's.

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