Recently a friend said to me, about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, “it should be all Lives matter!”, and on a separate discussion, I had another friend say about the Orlando shooting,” shouldn’t it be about human lives and not about being Gay?”
I am going to share my thoughts on this. I hope I can do so clearly and honestly. We live in a world, where the world we want and the world we have does not match. Racism, is very real and has not gone away. In fact it has just become better at hiding. Homophobia is very much around as well.
Personally, I do not know what it is like to fear the police, the way a black man does. When I see a policeman, I worry about was I speeding, the thought of losing my life does not enter my mind. But, I can see that we as a nation are in crisis, and we are losing too many men of color, just because of their skin color. Whether they are hispanic or African American. I know they are treated differently by law enforcement, schools, businesses. I have seen my friends, be pre-judged simply because they aren’t white. To not acknowledge this fact, we are just lying to ourselves.
So, yes I do understand that “ALL Lives should matter”, but I understand that it isn’t all lives that are being snuffed out. So the #BlackLivesMatter movement needs focus and emphasis. Their voices, pain and reality needs to be acknowledged and valued in order for there to be change. This does not take away from the world we want, or threaten me at all.But in order to get the world we want, where all lives do matter, we must address , hear and validate the reality of our black and brown brothers and sisters. Otherwise we further, victimize this community.
Orlando was a Mass shooting. It is true we have had too many mass shootings in our Country. Although this tragedy does add to the discussion of Guns, violence and terriorism in our country, we can not miss the fact that this crime was against the LGBTQ community and their allies and most of them were Latino. To not recognize and validate this fact, is to further victimize this community.
Acknowledging these ugly realities in our world, does not take away from anyone else. Unfortunately there is enough pain, and victimization to go around. But we must look at the ugliness in the face, and get real with its realities. Its not pleasant, It contains anger, pain, frustration and even misunderstanding. But in order for change to happen, we first must get real and hear the voices and their message.
I do not want to hear of another black man gunned down in the streets, simply because of the color of his skin. I do not want to hear of another murder or hate crime or a LGBTQ youth driven to suicide because of hate. We must get real and stop trying to divide ourselves, and first acknowledge and validate the pain, and ugly prejudice that our brothers and sisters deal with daily.
Although I believe that all lives do matter, I will not devalue or ignore the importance of the movement of #Blacklivesmatter . This voice and outrage must be loud to get the attention of our leaders and society. The same society that prove everyday, by many of its actions that black lives matter less. This cannot be! We as a society talk about equality but the reality does match the talk. I am not threatened by the voices that are speaking up for themselves and demanding change! I recognize and hear their truth. Let it no fall on deaf ears.
In the same way, that my pride as a LGBTQ person, is not in competition with others. The recent “StraightPride” movement, is the same as the “ALLLivesMatter” movement. It seeks to devalue the reality and journey of those who have had a rough way to go, simply because of who they are. Straight people, have never had to fear for their lives, if they had public displays of affection. Straight children have not had their parents or families disown them because they are straight. They haven’t had to hide who they are or love.So the idea of needing a straight pride, is ludicrous and frankly hurtful to those of us who have had to live in the margins of society . In the same way, for a white person to say “ALL Lives Matter” is covertly a way of devaluing the need for a Black lives matter movement. I would ask why is it that so many are threatened by these movements. The answer is simply prejudice.
Recently, Jesse Williams spoke clearly and forcibly about the reality of the black community. How can so many people judge his words and have an opinion, when many of us haven’t walked in those shoes. I wasn’t offended by his words, I was moved and offended by the reality of a world, that such words are necessary. I applaud him using his platform to speak for those whose voice too many times falls on deaf ears.
I get so frustrated with social media,we so so quick, to judge and hate, can’t we just listen. We may not understand fully or agree, but can’t we hear the pain and cry of our fellow brothers and sisters. If we listened more, and tried to understand more there would be less violence and hatred. Prejudice, hate and violence are more times than not carried out by or on the misunderstood and undervalued. We all need to matter and be heard. It is basic human dignity.
Our government has stopped functioning, because there is not respect, or dignity given. There is just judgement and hate. This is a chaotic, cycle that must be broken, not only in our government but in all parts of our society. In out state houses, temples, churches and mosques. In our media studios and homes. We must learn to respect and value each other and give each other the dignity that everyone deserves.
The greatest threat to hate, is understanding the pain of each other. You can’t understand what you pre-judge. If you really believe all lives matter and deserve equality than afford all the legitimacy of their truth, journey and struggles. Embrace my pain, accept your brothers reality, learn his or her truth. Know their pain! Then Hate is defeated!
-My two cents