To my friends who still do not seem to understand it (and yes, I still consider you all friends).
Please understand that the people marching and chanting that Black Lives Matter are not saying that other lives don’t. We intrinsically know that every human life matters, it’s why murder is a capital crime. It is not intended to diminish the value of any other life, or lives. It simply illustrates that the black community feels under siege by those in power. That there seem to be far too many graphic examples of law enforcement choosing to use deadly force, specifically on black people, disproportionate to other races.
To those that have said things like ‘why is it just black lives that matter?’ or ‘why is there a gay pride day and not a heterosexual day?’ I can assure you that the reasoning behind those sayings, or events, are well earned. Young white men do not seem to be under special surveillance by the authorities, nor do they typically worry about being pulled over for just being white. Straight people do not have a history of criminalization and abuse just for being heterosexual. Groups rise up and demand their right to equality, the right to coexist when they have had enough of discrimination and abuse. A great number of us in privileged classes see that, and choose to embrace their cause and welcome them.
I realize that it makes many of you uncomfortable to be called a ‘privileged class’ when you do not see yourselves that way. It’s not your fault for the most part. But, you could choose to take a new look at the way things are, and possibly see how they were arranged to be so. One can choose to see things through the eyes of another, and perhaps gain a fresh perspective. I can see the unearned privilege I possess almost every day. No one follows me through a department store to make sure I’m going to pay for the items I am carrying. I can say hello to a cop and get a nod or even a smile. Simply because my skin is the approved color, so I am not under instant suspicion. I am not sure what my life would be like if those things were different for me.
Those of us who join our friends and fellow citizens in protesting the unfair and often brutal treatment of any group of people, we truly believe in total equality. We will chant that Black Lives Matter because some in authority do not seem to agree with us. We will point out, and shout out each instance of discrimination and abuse that we find. But please understand this; we may be protesting police brutality and abuses by law enforcement, but we are not protesting ‘the police’ or law enforcement in general. We may vehemently protest bad cops, but we also embrace the good ones. Furthermore we are in no way advocates of less, or no law enforcement. Every modern society has created and funded the police, there will always be a need for them in our foreseeable future. Understand that one can be against police abuses, yet in favor of the police themselves.
Law enforcement officers that are an integrated part of the communities they police are a welcome and appreciated group amongst us. A police force that is representative of the population it serves is a good and necessary body. Laws, and their fair enforcement, are an important component of any civilized and peaceful society. That, in itself, is what we are protesting for. The just and fair application of laws, the fair treatment of all citizens regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual preference, age or political beliefs are what we want.
It’s armies that have and fight enemies, police have and protect communities.