It seems like today more and more people are beginning to have important discussions about race relations in America today. Even MTV recently aired a short documentary, “White People,” discussing the privileges or lack thereof in the young, white American population. It is imperative that we keep having these conversations because ignoring the problems of race or being “colorblind” is not going to resolve the issues. To find a solution we have to continue the conversation because even if you’re tired of hearing about it imagine the millions of people who are tired of living it.
One of the biggest disputes I see all over social media is #blacklivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter. I believe the controversy stems from the fact that many people don’t know why the hashtag was even created. Trayvon Martin should be a household name by now. He was walking home with his hoodie up, a can of Arizona and a bag of skittles at a later hour. He was unarmed and shot down in his neighborhood by some wannabe vigilante named George Zimmerman simply for looking suspicious. I think we all agree that this was very wrong and yet because of some shortsighted law his murderer got off Scott free. When Alicia Garza, a leader in the black lives matter movement heard the verdict she went on Facebook and wrote a status which ended with, “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”
The George Zimmerman trial and many other similar cases started a movement. Saying or using the hashtag “black lives matter” and being pro-black does not for a second mean I’m anti-asian, anti-hispanic, anti-white, and etc. Most importantly I’m not saying that your lives don’t matter. What we’re saying without getting into the statistics of it all is people, the police, the government, and etc. don’t treat us the same. To us it feels like we don’t matter. You don’t go to a breast cancer walk grab the mic from the keynote speaker and say, “But what about Lupus, or ALS?” To top it of the response we get when these things happen to our community is often callous and apathetic. You all grieved over and followed the story of Cecil the lion but do the names Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or Sandra Bland mean anything to you?
I urge you all to continue to have conversations that have to do with our race relations respectfully. I urge you all to educate yourselves regarding the struggles many if not all black people face on a day to day basis. I urge you all not to be afraid of being too “political.” Obviously this is not an issue we can solve overnight but sweeping it under a rug and pretending it’s not there will only create a bigger mess. We have to talk about it because it is the only way we will ever find a solution.