Thursday, May 7, 2015

About The Hashtag #BlackLivesMatter

By now, we've all been witness to the battle of the hashtags. First up was a call that black lives matter.

Then the rebuttal, that police lives matter.

And finally, the blanket statement that all lives matter.

On the surface, that makes sense. All lives DO matter, or at least they should. And it seems like a reasonable position to advocate.

But there's a problem with that compromise. It presumes that everything matters exactly as much at all times and deserves exactly the same amount of attention and degree of concern. And that's not only wrong, it's impossible.

Here's an example:

Generally, yes, all houses do matter. But sometimes, there are circumstances that dictate that extra attention be paid to a specific house.

Here's another example: 

Of course, other diseases matter. And of course, other people have felt the loss of a loved one. But there is a time and a place for each of these discussions.

My many friends of color are frustrated that they keep running into this same brick wall when discussing what is happening all across America. I feel for them, but I don't know what I can to change the conversation besides write these words:

Based on analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings between 2010 and 2012, young black males were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than were young white males.

21 times greater.

Sticking with the theme of the cartoon above, this is a house on fire that needs immediate attention. So when my friends share their concerns with me, they are not saying that other lives don't matter. They are saying that there is an urgent need to address the reality that is decimating their communities.

The least I can do is listen.

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