Black Lives Matter

That is what everyone needs to consider and feel. Empathy.

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

Place yourself in someone else’s position. I imagine that if I was taught racism from childhood it would hard to unlearn. I would need people I trust to help unwind those beliefs. It’s possible that I wouldn’t even realize I was racist. Again, I’d need help to see that, and it would be uncomfortable.

That is why your feed is full of images and quotes about anti-racism. It’s a process. Social media has given society a tool to quickly share with anyone who will listen. Naturally, it’s become flooded with voices of people from everywhere because we will all reach different groups of people. Maybe what I’m saying will cause a few people to pause and consider the current unrest, and imagine themselves as one of the millions of people wronged for their skin color.

Example: as a kid I watched the movie “A Time to Kill”. Matthew McConaughey gave his closing argument to a jury of all white people ready to convict a black man of murder. He describes the horrendous crimes committed by two white men on a young black girl and simply says “now imagine that little girl was white”. I kid you not, that is one of two sentences in the whole movie I remember clear as day. I remember thinking, “why did he have to say that for people to understand”? That was a MOVIE. I was a child and even then I knew how wrong that was. That premise didn’t come from thin air, it came from the real experiences of real people.

So I’ll wrap this up by asking everyone to have empathy for people who identify with what happened to George Floyd. Mother’s, friends, cousins, strangers… they’re identifying with the image of a white man’s knee on a black man’s neck. A black man who was subdued, handcuffed, and posed no immediate threat to anyone while lying on his stomach. If that’s not enough to enlighten your thought process, imagine that the cop was black and the man on the ground was white. Imagine bystanders begging that cop to get off the throat of the white man. Witnesses can’t push the cop off. They’d be shot. So instead they plead, and they pull out their cameras.

Now ask yourself these questions: Would the black cop have been charged the same day? Would the media look for information in the white mans past to imply he deserved the knee on his throat? If a hash tag for “white lives matter” was retaliated by the hashtag “all lives matter”, would you be ok? Honestly, if you felt like you needed to prove to me that your life mattered (because history has taught you that it doesn’t) and I dismissed you by saying, “well all lives matter”, would that hurt you?

Close your eyes and ask yourself how you’d feel if you were in a different role within these situations.

Side note: if anyone murdered my child, I’d light the world on fire until someone listened to me when I screamed that his/her life mattered. Is that acceptable? No. But the last thing I’d be in this situation is calm and civil, and I’ve learned that quietly kneeling isn’t acceptable either.

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