To the editor,
A few weeks ago at a BLM rally, two white youngsters called out “All lives matter.” Of course, all lives matter. However, our country’s history is quite clear – you matter only if your skin is white.
Enslaved African Americans were treated with less respect than barnyard animals. Women were raped, children auctioned off from their parents, all were beaten — atrocities leveled at our fellow humans.
Long after Emancipation, atrocities continue. The life’s work of the great Congressman John Lewis reminds us of the brutality blacks suffered just to secure the right to vote. This particular right is being chipped away as current voting procedures make it harder and harder for People of Color (POC) to participate in democracy.
Inherent bias has been woven so tightly into our society that denial there is a real problem, is one of our biggest obstacles to lasting change.
The “All Lives Matter” saying appears to be an inability to acknowledge our own present-day racism.
Cell phone videos in the last few years have exposed blatant racism. I can’t imagine the intense worries POC may experience daily when loved ones venture out. Places white people take for granted as safe; parks, running routes, playgrounds — it doesn’t matter, if you are black you are not safe. Even in your own home –your arm chair (Botham Jean), your very own bed (Breonna Taylor) you may not be safe, literally and figuratively, from a trigger and a bullet.
When George Floyd called out for his mother; when he cried out, “PLEASE, I can’t breathe”, how could anyone’s heart not ache? A Black friend recently told us, a group of white friends, that a white stranger urinated on his shoes at a highway rest stop. He was angry and humiliated. I ask you who don’t believe that racism remains pervasive in America, walk a mile in those shoes!
We have a long way to go to heal the past and to create policies that actually work as more than lip service to addressing overt and systemic racism.
Our children say the Pledge of Allegiance at school. The Pledge ends with “liberty and justice for all.”
What does ALL really mean to you? We white people need to take a deep look at the fabric of this country- a patchwork quilt that includes mighty ideals and dreams of democracy, yet it also includes hypocrisy.