In my opinion when a group of people make a statement saying “We don’t believe our lives matter” and any response other than, “Of course, you do matter” is inhumane. It is inappropriate to choose that moment to state all the other lives which matter instead of addressing the pain that is currently being verbalized.
I am personally perplexed that people can shed tears over a dead dog or pretend to care about orphans in south east Asia or Africa when there is a whole generation of kids in your backyard who don’t believe their lives matter.
I have met several people in academia who believe that the overall response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been inappropriate to say the least but they will never say something in public for fear of offending someone else’s feelings. As Alain de Botton so appropriately stated, “Many people in the intellectual elite are very scared of shouting. They insist on very quiet murmurs”.
Personally, I never want to become so educated or get a title so important that I fail to respond to a fellow human’s cry for help.
So let me emphatically say it; Black Lives Matter! You do matter to me at least. Of course other lives matter, white lives, Asian lives, Hispanic lives, Police lives etc, etc, But that is not the question at hand. The issue at hand is, a certain demographic in the United States feels systematically marginalized and targeted by law enforcement. And when they make a statement as a way of affirming themselves, any other response other than yes you do matter is WRONG! We as a people were provided with an opportunity to respond and we failed, the political leaders failed, the civic leadership failed, even the church failed.
So here is my advice to all the proponents of human rights in third world countries from the United States. Before you condemn another dictator’s leadership and assert yourself as the self appointed human rights police force for the rest of the world it would be nice to address the issues you have in your own backyard. Such as, the fact that a good percentage of your population is actually questioning whether or not their lives matter. To all the awesome people who love travelling around the world to make a difference in the lives of other children 10,000 miles away, would you please consider addressing the issues here at home as well?
Disclosures: I happen to be black and I am also a part of the academia who ignorantly only voiced my disapproval in murmurs. Well, not anymore!
I leave you with a quote from Gaston Bachelard “The subconscious is ceaselessly murmuring, and it is by listening to these murmurs that one hears the truth”.
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