This may be the best thing I’ve ever written or it may be the worst.
Either way, it’s the realest thing I’ve ever written and I say it because it comes from an intense placement of fear. Fear that my voice doesn’t count, fear that it’s out of place, fear that it’s speaking from ignorance, and a fear that I will be attacked for it.
I’m a different kind of breed that I jokingly pass as “Other” to my friends when we talk about race identification. My mother is Japanese and French Canadian and my father is Italian and Belgic. I am categorically “White” by any standard no matter how much I want to pass the joke “White people are crazy.” when I see “White” people acting out of the ordinary, out of my realm of ordinary.
Granted my realm is also categorically privileged. I’m a “White” woman living in a country where I’m FREE and able to be a woman that has a voice that I can express through social media, writing, in-public with my husband, or by walking with friends through the park. I am FREE. I have a “White” look that gets me through my day-to-day life without a second nod from a police officer.
Do I have struggles? You bet your bottom dollar but I can say that I never fear being harmed by a police officer because I look at them as a source of help not hate and I do so with an acknowledging thought that I know how lucky I am.
This is not a knock the majority of police officers that I know who bear a shield and fight that I truly know nothing of. The idea of walking up to strangers in public or even worse; to their car … Imagining the process of asking what someone is doing truly stresses me beyond anything I should publicly mention. But, it’s true. Having an argument with someone stresses me out but that’s my norm. It’s my very privileged norm.
I drive past signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and I think and have expressed; “Don’t all lives matter?” The answer is an obvious YES. But the problem isn’t with all lives; it’s with anything other than “White”. How sad is that?
I’ve listened to numerous people talk about Trump in so many ways that are concerning because he spits nothing but venom. Yes we have a border issue but it’s nothing new. Immigration issues have been around since the latter half of the twentieth century.
The origins of illegal immigration date to the late nineteenth century. In 1875, when a federal law was passed which prohibited entry of convicts and prostitutes. In 1882 President Chester A. Arthur banned a great deal of Chinese immigration to the United States.
My grandmother actually came into the United States via Ellis Island. It was the portal for immigrants from 1892 to 1954. During that time, any immigrant had to prove their identity, answer a series of questions, and women had to have a man pick them up or they were deported.
The moral to this drawn out story is that culture breeds from a place of fear; which depressingly causes people to have a gang mentality and act from a place of ignorance.
Have there been people that are trying to get into our country for malicious acts? Of course; it rings true for every civilization. But how did “Our” civilization become such a mecca for hate? How did we get here? How can we place judgment on anyone by the tone of their skin? Why does pigment play a role in how we treat others?
Yes, I am unrealistic because I actually don’t pay attention to that … I pay attention to intention, body language, words, and actions. If someone … Anyone … Ever tries to talk to me, I look them in the eye and that’s all I need to know if they’re legit or if they have an ill will towards me or those I love and THAT is the only thing that should matter.
But sadly, we don’t live in a society that is composed of welcome arms to anyone that has a good will. We live in a scared society that is afraid of anyone that we don’t know or understand by the glance of a color rather than a fixed eye on their word and action.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Absolutely.
But there are also rules to this exception.
We must start looking organically to each person we come into contact with. Just because one person may be X, Y, Z … It doesn’t mean the person of their color, shade, or pigment is the same. No one on earth is the exact same human as the human being standing next to them; no one.
Every life matters when we start saying it but we must also grow a pair and be able to say that we don’t know how it feels for anyone that doesn’t walk our path but that the empathy that ANYONE can possess can recognize that we must do something and we must do something fast.
One of my favorite quotes about using our voice comes from Martin Niemöller. He was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
What will happen to us if we don’t start speaking out for one another? What happens when anyone of any walk of life starts coming for you?
This problem exists for “Black Lives”, “Hispanic Lives”, and any other human being that is discriminated against throughout the depths of time. We must speak up that “Black Lives” actually do matter because your life matters just the same.
With today’s headlines we have to start the conversation because violence against police officers cannot be the answer.
I read an article about how “Black Lives Matter” is the new Civil Rights Movement. If this is than who is the modern day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?
He was the communicator for that time to lead peaceful protests because of the disgusting acts he and an entire race were facing.
In his words:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
We must use our voices to spread a question that should rock all of to our cores; “What will happen when no one is left to speak for you?”
We must stop harming each other and multiplying hate and violence. We must use our voice to create a new conversation to change the world.