Time Black Lives Matter

When all of us are appreciated for who we  are, not ignored or minimized, then we can find truth and take cover under the All Lives Matter umbrella. But for the moment, it is abundantly clear that some lives matter more than others in America. So excuse me while I focus on the shortchanged for a moment.

"Black Lives Matter" grates your nerves? Challenges your sense of fairness? Interrupts your dreams of a land indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? Wake up. Open your eyes to the reality of life in America for all of us who are not white. Wrap your mind around dealing with the presumptions, suspicions, insults and injustices served hot and fresh daily to everyone guilty of being non-white, non-rich and/or non-straight. 

Do NOT delete any part of me! Don't you dare try to minimize my race, gender, age, physical status, socioeconomic status, education, or my sexual preference.  Accept, embrace and protect all of me. Treat all of me the way you do your most valued lives. Then I can stop pointing out the very real, very visible, very present parts you continue to abuse.

It is so easy to sit on a lofty perch, shrouded by white privilege (which, whether or not you recognize it, is alive, well, and obviously informs the thinking of many) and muse about what and how the recipients of institutionalized, codified barbarism should think. Don't patronize me, ignore my color and my history. Don't gloss over my CURRENT status. I don't have to act like some personal fight continues - get out of that fairy tale you've created and recognize the struggle for equality is fully current and continues daily! We are not trying to overcome being Black or Black history. What we're trying to overcome is others notions of our inferiority based on our color, and their persecution of us because of it. You do me no favor teaching anyone to ignore my race, but rather a grave injustice. Should I ignore your sex? Your heritage? Your religion? Or any other component that makes you uniquely you? Shall I ignore or slice off the parts of you I chose not to confront or deem irrelevant or painful to look at? No! Recognize, appreciate, celebrate, encourage all of me! All of me, including the scars of the pains inflicted by YOUR ancestors, is relevant. Don't you dare enslave my people because of our race then have the unmitigated gall to say we play the race card too often. Don't tell me about a white President who risked everything, not when clearly stated if he could have cured America's ills without ending slavery, he would have. Don't get your panties in a bunch about social media pages celebrating Blackness (and by the way, there are plenty celebrating every race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference, etc., should you look). Get upset about the political parties and incumbent politicians who seek to have people of color return to the days of carrying manumission papers. Get upset about voting laws designed to decrease voters of color. Teach your children about the real impact Stand Your Ground laws have, and how inequitably they're applied in America

A luta continua

Why you aren't advocating this "forget about it" drivel to survivors and descendants of the Jewish Holocaust or Japanese interment camps, suggesting they stop teaching their history? Oh, you know why. Every culture that has suffered holocausts, genocide, prison camps, enslavement or other mass torture teaches it's descendants to know their history and stand firm against allowing repetition. "Never forget" is a unifying battle cry." The collective forces will rise up against you in solidarity with a resounding, "NO!", shutting down any attempts you might consider to dilute or delete their history. So why, then, are Black Americans encouraged, from within and without, to forget our history? Those who don't know their history are destined to repeat it. Black history is too painful, a vicious tear in the fabric of American history? Exactly why it needs to be remembered, unvarnished. Ignoring what was and is will not make it better, nor will it make it stop. So stop it. Your good intentions need a reality check. Maybe then your teachings might be more meaningful.

Schomburg Center, Harlem, NY, April 2015

Schomburg Center, Harlem, NY, April 2015

We are more than aware that people from every hue and walk of life have joined the struggle for civil rights. We also know that doing so impacts them positively, as well as us. The tenets of civil rights have been used for all struggles for equality – age, gender, sexual preference, physical challenge, religion, etc. You want a thank you for doing what is right, just humane? Thank you. You want to stop apologizing for what's been done?

 1) Stop being racist, sexist, elitist and generally condescending and insensitive now. Just think how you would feel on the receiving end of your words and behavior, then adjust accordingly. Get educated. LISTEN!! Empathize. I mean really put yourself in the shoes of those you're trying to understand. What if it was your son, daughter, mother, father or even you being impacted, violated, killed daily, simply for looking like they look and being who they are? That is the crime for which we are being eradicated, and it has been throughout our history in America. Teaching revisionist feel-good history and ignoring current truth helps no one.  

2) Recognize apologies don't put broken pieces back together. Apologies are the first, not the last step in healing.  

3) Act. Vote, march, speak, pray, call, write, publish, teach, finance, post, videotape, befriend, protest, repeat. Be focused, united, creative and intentional in your protests. Learn how to be an effective ally. Respect and be respected.