It strikes me as curious as to why the Black Lives Matter slogan is such an irritant to a large number of conservatives. It seems a simple premise, include us in your view of the sanctity of life. When Donald Trump bellows “America First” does that mean that Europe, Asia, and Africa should rebel in protest? Imagine Angela Merkel greeting President Trump on the tarmac with a t-shirt that reads, ‘All Countries Matter.’ That same logic stands true with the Black Lives Matter movement. When watching fathers and mothers—in tears, on national television, some because they have lost sons or daughters, and others because they fear the future, I imagine the softness of my grandsons and granddaughters melanin filled cheeks when I hug them. I see my face in the faces of the two young men I raised and who sired my grandchildren, and I breathe a sigh of relief when they arrive safely at their homes at the end of a day.
An unnamed number of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) have been questioned for inspecting their lawns after mowing, attempting to use hotel pools—with their kids, jaywalking, and just living while black. When righteous anger is displayed by the recipients of these injustices, we are told to just cooperate and everything will be okay. How often does that really save our lives? Nat Turner led a slave rebellion against his enslavement and after execution by hanging, his body was flayed, and his remains were literally boiled into wagon wheel grease. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and practiced non-violence; he was jailed, stabbed, and ultimately shot to death by an assassin's bullet. Colin Kaepernick knelt in peace, silence, and respect for the flag and lost his career as a result, George Floyd begged for his mother and to his last breath begged for his life, with a police officer’s knee squeezing the life from his prostrate body.
The surviving relatives of black victims are praised for showing restraint and strength only when they do not express a natural human emotion, anger. I watched the pained look on the face of Jacob Blake’s father on the news Friday night. He was frustrated, his son had been shot in the back seven times by a police officer. He was angry and he was unrepentant. What parent would not be; after sitting hours in a hospital waiting room, watching the clock tick, awaiting the news of your son’s condition? After days of multiple surgeries, surgeries that have apparently left the younger Mr. Blake paralyzed, his father subsequently found him handcuffed to his bed. Seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse drove from his home in Illinois to Wisconsin, on a misguided quest to keep the peace. After shooting three people he raised his hands, with his rifle dangling from a strap around his neck, hands in the air, in what I believe was his idea of a heroic surrender, and bystanders yelling at the police that he had just shot someone, the white youth was ignored. He drove back home and got a good night’s sleep. Later he was arrested and conservatives are clamoring to defend his actions.
Black men like Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Jim Brown, Colin Kaepernick, and LeBron James were both scorned and cheered as athletes because they refused to shut-up and punch, volley, run, throw, and dribble. I agree that violence is not the answer, but it seems neither is peace, protest, or speaking up. You tell me America, as black men, and women, what are we to do next?
Vote in 2020 for Change.