If history has proven anything to us, it’s that white people rarely care about things until it directly affects them.
There’s a lot that’s been written over the many years of senseless killings and police brutality targetings of black Americans, especially as it refers to the movement #blacklivesmatter. Rather than contributing to the reason black lives do, in fact, matter, I want to take a different approach.
If you can’t understand the fuss over a racist system so ingrained into the fabric of our country that the very makeup of who we are as a nation was literally built upon the backs of BLACK slaves, then don’t look at the past. In fact, don’t even look at the present. I want you to look in the future.
My great-grandfather passed away in December. He was a man of whom I had the utmost respect for. He fought in World War Two, provided an amazing life for his wife and two daughters (despite not being educated past the eighth grade), and illegally entered into the New Deal workforce (he was too young), in order to provide for his mother. However, there’s one thing I wish I could confront him about.
He entered into assisted living during the last few years of his life and, on more than one occasion, he verbally assaulted black nurses. What I want to ask him is: how, after living through lynchings, after seeing a black man assassinated for being black and for advocating for black lives, after being a direct witness to the struggles of a black America, could you still maintain that someone is worth less than you based on their skin tone?
Some day, and probably soon, the Black Lives Matter movement will be remembered historically as the new civil rights movement. It will be mentioned in the same vein as Dr. King, and when your child, or your grandchild, or your great-grandchild asks you how you could have sat back and watched as policemen and the legal system they represent, incarcerated and murdered innocent black men and women, I highly doubt stuttering out a response how #AllLivesMatter will be a sufficient enough answer.
If you can’t wrap your head around a world in which being black is a crime in and of itself, be selfish enough to stand on the right side of history. Your children and your children’s children are waiting for a better world. All that stands in the way is you.