“Black lives don’t matter. All lives do.”
It’s something I hear from some of those opposing the BLM movement. But I believe it’s missing the point of Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter -is- all lives matter. It’s not black lives matter -more-. It’s that they do matter. If we spend so much time correcting everyone that, then we’re actually saying the opposite. By worrying so much about overshadowing Black Lives Matter, in some vain stand for political correctness, rather than actually hearing out those in real pain.. we’re choosing to not give them a place for their voice to be heard. Because anytime we believe our view of how something is worded perfectly is more important than the issue itself, that’s simply shameful.
I can’t begin to profess any real knowledge of the current day struggles of what it means to be black in America. I know from our history that we’ve come a long way but I still think that we have a long way to go. All too often in conversations with others I hear quick comments that, while often aren’t meant with a malicious intent, still maintain a sense of ‘other’ when referring to real humans of a different color. And that is incredibly damaging. While I don’t know a lot of the answers on what it needs to take to make real racial progress, I know that it will take willful effort. And I believe that starts with listening above all else. The kind of conversational listening that involves speaking very little. The kind of listening that allows us to carefully consider others in thought in prayer before we offer a response. I don’t believe that kind of listening ever leads to being behind something like All Lives Matter. Because I think that kind of listening already knows that’s true.
When engaging others by aggressively correcting them, we fall into a scary kind of logic. It distances ourselves from anyone ‘other’ and distances us from empathy. We’re free from the weight of putting ourselves in someone else’s position. I hear people talk about some poor choices made by BLM supporters. There is truth in the idea they haven’t been perfect. But I could say the same for any organization/religion/people group. If the focus is found to be on the “yeah, but” instead of whether or not the message is valuable, we’re letting our biases get in the way of our ability to hear with a compassionate heart. We’re all broken. And by holding the brokenness of another over them, we’re refusing to acknowledge being on their level. Healing doesn’t happen that way. Instead, we end up more enslaved to the endless marathon of trying to look perfect.