i have been posting this “black lives matter” pic in facebook since michael brown’s death in ferguson MO in 2014. that was six year ago now. whenever there has been a high profile case of police abuse against a black person, i have reposted it. if the internet had existed in 1992 when the rodney king verdict came out– BLM would have blown up. the phrase “black lives matter” is actually a watered down version of the message of martin luther king jr. perhaps he would have said, “black lives are sacred” since we are all sons and daughters of God.
although i have been distancing myself from FB, i posted the BLM image again– with the same results from the last six years! the analogies that folks posted this week do help our understanding of the importance of BLM ( https://www.facebook.com/art.gramajecmf/posts/3389754144391913 ). it has been good to see a cross section of people that i know from seattle, LA, fresno, the bay area, prescott az, new jersey and chicago bringing passion into the comments.
and there is something deeper going on here with the feeling behind not accepting the phrase “black lives matter”. all of the arguments regarding semantics will not convince those whose anti- BLM sentiments trump common sense analogies. in part, BLM has politicized and thus demonized by various folks on the extreme right. to say BLM is to admit that there are systemic problems in our society and thus in our police stations. there is a real resistance to being labeled racist. the existence of racism would admit that america was/is not great (again). for these folks, the national identity of the usa is shaken. the sentiment for many is, “our country was unified (and great) before when there was a common (white) culture.” the result is that they will fight for that version of who we are as a nation because of a fear of the unknown of what we could become. therefore, the statement is preferred: “all lives matter”. what looks like inclusivity is actually a slick way of denying the discrimination and bigotry that so many people of color experience. the hurt that they can experience is: what about us? will we be left behind and forgotten? this hurt can blind them to what people of color are voicing and thus need to choose a side: the wagons have been circled.
the president of the usa has fanned these flames of division in various ways and has firmed up the base that is fearful of the inevitable changes that our country will experience. the president was correct when he said that he could shoot someone on 5th avenue in nyc and would still be supported. he is the “hero” of this extreme camp.
thus the fight is really about who we are as a country. the changing demographics and the population rise of people of color as well as the variety of diverse cultures are changing our identity as a country. where this is going is uncertain. uncertainty can bring fear. fear can paralyze us.
BLM is a lot more than semantics. if we are open, BLM is an opportunity for us to go deeper in seeing one another as sisters and brothers.
i have posted that i believe that we need special graces to move past fear into true understanding. the Spirit brings this about not our own resources and abilities. politicization causes us to hunker down into our own positions and not listen well or deeply understand those who disagree with us. there has to be a will to listen and be challenged by the Spirit to see things differently and to see the sacredness of all life. there has to be true compassion to stand in a special way with those who suffer more than others. we need courage to pray “Our Father who art in Heaven…” because that makes us all brothers and sisters. indeed, all lives are sacred; black lives are sacred because of God’s love