For my black brothers and sisters: I’m so sorry that with every unjustified bullet, your trust weakens, your heritage bears deeper insult, and your fears heighten. I lay aside my privilege, but it’s still there. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry that you fear when I don’t. I’m sorry that you are viewed as dangerous when you’re not. My deepest apologies for the degradation of your life, and insinuations that I will never personally have to bear, at least not in regard to the color of my skin. Please forgive. Please keep going. Please keep hoping.
For my white brothers and sisters: There seems to be an overwhelming consensus that we are offended with the slogan of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Upon my first hearing this phrase, I pondered “Doesn’t this just keep the rift/separation between people groups going?!” My conclusion came after much meditating and thought on the matter. For one, our people have never been unilaterally held against our will, bought or sold, or had our rights considered under property laws. PROPERTY laws. So we can never know how that feels. Logically perhaps, but never emotively.
Of course these crazy laws were abolished, but the same mindsets still exist in the undercurrents of society. There are statistically higher incarcerations, false identifications, police brutality and overuse of force within the African-American community. We need to acknowledge the judiciary and social disparities that truly exist, and to be able to demand justice. I believe a huge step in that direction, is to acknowledge the injustice.
It might seem silly, or like we’re playing semantics for us white folks, but for the black community, it is healing to lift up our collective voices and say “Yes, black lives DO matter!” They want acknowledgement of wrongdoing, like anyone would in the same situation. So I don’t see the terminology as divisive AT ALL. I see it as an extension of our hands to their losses and grief, and also the offering of our own brotherhood. All lives DO matter, the problem is, the black community doesn’t feel it. So please be sensitive. Please don't make this about you. Please just listen.
For all of us, AS brothers and sisters: Let's be delicate with one another's struggles.
Let us challenge ourselves to look within for stereotypes and lies that we may believe. Let's begin stirring a dialogue over these heavy and difficult issues. Let's pour our misunderstandings at each others feet so that we can embrace understanding, change and empathy. Let's work hard at being sensitive with our words, and when our naivety and ignorance DO slip through, let's have grace. We can do this. We CAN do this. I will be the first to commit. Are you with me?