I was once advised that asking someone "why" -- as in "why did you do that?" or "why do you think that way?" -- tends to make people feel defensive. It's better, then, to ask, "Can you help me to understand ... ?" Most people, after all, respond positively to being asked to help.
So ... to all of the people who say that "Black Lives Matter" is, itself, a racist slogan because it singles out the lives of Black people as being more important than the lives of anyone else -- can you help me to understand something?
Does this say to you that colon-rectal cancer, or esophageal cancer, or lung cancer don't matter?
And does this say to you that forest fires are the only thing that is damaging to our wild areas -- that, for instance, the dumping of toxic waste, or just simple dropping trash don't matter?
And does this say to you that the polar bears should just suck it up and learn to enjoy the warmth?
So can you help me to understand hos this says to you that the people who post it believe only Black lives matter?
Can you help me to understand this? Because, honestly, the only reason I can imagine that White people would have that reaction to this declaration, but not the others, is because it touches on the truth we would rather not acknowledge -- that for hundreds of years Black people have been treated as if their lives don't matter, and having to acknowledge that truth makes us uncomfortable. Well guess what? As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "there are some things to which all of us should be maladjusted."
I know that this train of thought isn't original to me. I repeat it here only because it bears repeating. It bears repeating until the defensive walls are broken down so that the need for this message is recognized. Until White people recognize that the work of making our country's systems and institutions change so that they do, in fact, treat Black lives as if they matter is our work -- then it needs to be repeated.
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