Black Lives Do Matter

Black lives do matter

You answer all lives matter

Time to get past words

Fear and hate are in the way

Ancestors can enlighten

Quiet the mind and listen

– James

Black lives matter, no all lives matter. Confederate statues are symbols of oppression and hate, no they represent history and should be preserved. Shot dead while running away, well he shouldn’t have resisted arrest. These debates have been exhausting, and, what’s worse, they have been with my friends. Facebook debates typically. I guess the easy thing to do would be to hit the defriend button when an impasse is reached, but that would be way too easy. My heart can’t let go; I must understand. Why can’t we see the situation the same way? I know racial stereotypes, prejudices, and bigotry run deep, but don’t we all share a basic goal of justice and humanity for all?

We hung out, we shared a beer, shared many laughs, and enjoyed being around one another. Do we really, now, view life that differently? I don’t know, I can only evaluate what I observe and try and understand. My latest debate was around confederate monuments. My friend felt strongly that history must be preserved. I decided to go with that thread and shared with him that the vast number of monuments were erected after 1895 (30 years after the civil war) and into the 1960s. They have been erected in over thirty states, while only 11 states participated in the confederate cause. In addition, most of the monuments don’t actually honor the fallen soldier, but the failed generals. I asked my friend doesn’t this support the view that the monuments were more about keeping the confederate cause of black oppression and white supremacy alive? Is it really about the history of the fallen confederate soldier?

My friend did not release his position, but I sensed there was some movement toward the truth and for me that was good enough, for the moment. If there is one thing this past weekend’s events in Tulsa Oklahoma showed me it’s that we are so woefully ignorant of United States history, especially as it pertains to the African American experience.

I know these debates are far from over, but we must take them head-on, especially amongst our circles of family and friends. This moment is too important to let slip away. Last night I heard a television news contributor say what I have struggled to say, “It’s not that black lives matter more, its that they matter just as much”.

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