It’s that simple.
Except it’s not simple at all.
It’s not simple because we are talking about flipping the script on hundreds of years of oppression and the strategic building of oppressive structures. And let’s face it - most people resist change. Especially if that change might take away some of the securities that keep you safe and warm - and on top.
Black deaths from the lethal force of police is not something we should be debating. It's something we should be uniting around and taking action on TOGETHER. Why it's up for debate is beyond me and if you are someone who does not see it as a problem or wrong or an issue of civil and human rights, then can we please talk? Because I am desperately trying to understand your point of view. What am I missing? I want to know.
Why is talking about Black Lives Matter something that makes you defensive? Why does seeing someone with a BLM shirt or hat or mask make you angry? What is underneath that anger and defensiveness? Please tell me - I want to understand.
Do White people also get killed by the police? Yes, they do. Are we sad and distraught and fighting for their justice too? Yes. Do their lives matter, too? Absolutely. And despite the fact that all peoples in this country are subject to police brutality, Black people living in America are shot and killed at a much higher rate than any other ethnicity. In fact, of the over 800 people killed by police in 2020 alone, Black people have been 28% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population. What does that mean? It means that Black people are killed 2x the rate of White people. That means 32 Black fatalities per million versus 13 White fatalities per million. Data is neutral and statistics don’t lie - Black people are killed at disproportionate rates. So what is missing in the data for you that you do not openly support BLM? Or what am I not seeing, what data am I not searching for that makes what I see one-sided? Please talk with me - I want to understand.
Babies. These boys were all babies. They had moms. They had siblings and best friends and cousins and classmates. Classmates...because they were students. In school. They were school aged children. So if you are an educator or a parent, and you are not advocating for BLM, I especially want to hear your perspective because I just cannot wrap my head around this one and I want to understand. If you are not fighting for a strong and active equity and inclusion team at your school site, then please call me so I can hear you out. And if you are not working on your own reflection on bias and prejudice that we all have please, please let's talk. I desperately, desperately want to understand.
For a beautiful interactive tribute to some of the souls killed too soon, check out what Al Jazeera made here. For an incredibly thoughtful and extensive list, by year, with images and related news reports, please take a moment to reflect on all the lives lost here.
For an opportunity to participate in monthly discussions on how race shows up in every area of our lives - especially as parents and educators - join us for "What's Color Got to Do With It?" by registering here. It's free and always on the second Saturday of the month.