Make no Mistake, I fully support Black Lives Matter, it's cause, it's initiative and its methodology. I am saddened that more of the evangelical community is not lifting this cause up and are instead afraid to face persecution based on what their endorsement implies. To know this cause is to have taken the time to learn about it's three dynamic founders. These women are educated, socially conscious and aware of the blatant atrocities that continue to plague our Black communities. They are not militant, racist hatemonger with an agenda to create a movement against police. To imply so perpetuates historical ignorance, but then again- they misunderstood Jesus too. Acknowledging that a disproportionate amount of police brutality exist against Black men is not saying that this is the only problem facing Black culture, but it certainly is a big enough problem to speak out against. This article is dedicated to Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Parisse Cullers- my beautiful sisters in Christ and cause.
A Perspective on Black Lives Matter
The idea that Black lives matter is a terminology that upsets many speaks to the quality of communication and relationship within the culture that is using it but the concern is not entirely without merit. Any form of ignorance can breed anger and violence which is why LTOCZ.com exist! God has a perspective on every aspect of our lives and if we, as a culture could learn to take a step back and hear life’s questions with a heart of compassion (like Christ) then our answers might be better received and our actions might have a more positive impact in society (also in likeness to Christ).
I’d like to start by stating to all of those who are engaging in the “All Lives Matter” campaign I applaud you but I hope that you are equally invested in supporting Black Lives Matters otherwise your campaign, however well intentioned, is useless.
Let me tell you first what Black Lives Matter is not. It is not a separatism objective designed to segregate Black people from American culture. What Black Lives Matter is (in their own words http://blacklivesmatter.com/guiding-principles/) “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
Let’s begin this discussion by acknowledging that BLM is a positive affirmation and should not be confused with or likened to any racist or negative cause.
It is almost an inevitable outcry of those who are either unfamiliar with or indifferent to Black struggles and Black inequality in America to offer Black people utilizing this objectives catchphrase the alleged corrective alternative “All lives matter” and I don’t think that this is a statement that is untrue, it is however an initiative that cannot live independent of the BLM cause or be placed ahead of it. Let me explain why.
Think way back to when you were a child first learning math. I can remember teaching math to elementary school-aged children in my community and falling in love with the wonderment and joy that overwhelmed my students in the presence of revealed knowledge. Do you remember questions as elementary as 1+____=2? Before you could learn how to add numbers you had to learn the value of numbers because without understanding numeric value, you could not formulate an equation. I can remember the wave of little hands raising with the collectives “Oh, oh, I know this” from the class. Okay; All lives matter is the sum total to the equation in which all values are not known; Black lives matter is sharing with you the missing part of the equation.
Since America knows the value of White lives (I’m going beyond to include in this wealthy lives) the equation looks something like this White lives + _______= All lives matter. The Black Lives Matter campaign is forcing all American culture to place value on Black lives. Here’s the problem with not knowing the proper value in any equation- in absence of value the question can never be answered. This is why historically we have seen when Black lives are devalued, efforts to “bring down” or devalue White lives have been attempted to balance the scales, in effort to find an answer. This is how immediately after the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile can five white Dallas officers get gunned down and killed while wounding 7 others! Black Lives Matter is not the cause of those police shootings, historically refusing to place equitable value on Black lives did that. There is no way to justify such cowardly method but let’s be clear- as illogical, irrational, horrific and tragic as it was, it was still in effort to seek value, balance the scales of injustice and complete an equation.
Let’s not attempt to turn the demand to place value on Black lives against Blacks by claiming Black people don’t value each other’s lives or the life of their own. This was my problem with the updated Roots remake which in attempting to be more historically accurate painted Black on Black crime as a precursor for the atrocity of slavery as if one crime justified the other. As a person who worked many years in Human Services, I have seen the worse side of my culture and that breaks my heart but that could never diminish my love, desire to support or hope in my Black culture. In essence, join those of us called with the gift of edification to bring up the ones stuck in the web of our history- don't paralyze and then hunt to kill the already entangled to justify your blood thirst.
America hear this- Racist police officers do not have permission to slaughter our Black men because of the poverty, lack of education, lack of employment opportunities, drugs, gang violence and yes, the Black on Black crime that exist within our communities. You do not get a free pass for the genocide of my people and you are not doing us any favors.
To even suggest this proves once again that the value of Black lives is still unknown and grossly undervalued in American culture. This means you are dishonoring Black history, our contributions to building this country, our faith and our legacy and these things are not yours to have (and is certainly not yours to take away). Black Lives Matter! This is an important truth for this country to grasp, not a hashtag to sweep under a rug. Without basic understanding of this inalienable right American culture will never know the answer to the equation; America will never know peace.
To those in law enforcement attempting the genocide of our Black men don’t worry about our community drilling this truth in to the heads of our Black citizens. We exist; those of us who are raising our families in reverence to God’s word in hope that our community will change. You will not elicit positive change by your reactionary fear to our plight. Instead, think Niebuhr and ask God “…the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…” If we turn our eyes from each other and look first up to God, perhaps when we see each other again it can be through God inspired lenses.
Thank you my Sisters in Christ for the fortitude to take a stand and the withstand all to make a difference. I stand with you in mind, body and soul!