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July 11, 2016

#BlackLivesMatter Wouldn’t be Necessary if All Lives truly Mattered.

blacklivesmatter

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“Yes, all lives matter but we’re focused on the black ones right now, ok? Because it is very apparent that our judicial system doesn’t know that. Plus if you can’t see why we’re exclaiming #BlackLivesMatter you are part of the problem.” ~ Unknown
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This isn’t a black issue. 

It’s also not an issue of affluence or even of culture.

This is an issue of humanity, not because all lives don’t matter but precisely because they do.

Yet, the black population is grappling with issues that other races just aren’t—and if you say that’s not true, then you are part of the problem.

It’s not about not being able to speak up because you aren’t black—but speaking up because you aren’t. The only way things will ever change is if you do. 

If all lives mattered equally then the hashtag #blacklivesmatter would never have come into creation—but it has.

This means that we have to remove the blinders that society and the media have wanted us to wear so that the agenda of privilege and racism could be comfortably continued, and instead choose to see life for what it currently is—unjust.

I don’t want to raise my children in a world where I may have to explain to them someday that somebody they love was shot just because of the color of their skin.

I don’t care if to some I am seen as a white girl talking out of turn, because I believe that this is an issue that we all should be concerned with.

I am fed up with the blatant disrespect that black people have been dealing with since this country began and I am tired of it always being an “us versus them” scenario, because it’s not.

Until we are all on the same side then we will continue to see black men shot and killed in the streets just because they were born of a darker skin color.

Until we can wake up and look ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge that we haven’t come nearly as far as Martin Luther King Jr. had hoped we would, then we will continue to make a mockery of his memory and every other civil rights figure who battled against the injustices associated with skin color.

There is no us. There isn’t even them.

There is only people; humans; one race and one world. Until we can see that nothing separates us except our own limited points of view, then we will continue to have to explain away hate.

There is no justifiable explanation for why Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed this week.

There was no justifiable reason why Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by Police, either.

And there is no justifiable explanation for the racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing that was reported during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This isn’t just one incident involving violence against blacks—but years of events that have suddenly accumulated to just too much to take.

Every life lost due to a system that is more comfortable shouting the misdemeanors of a specific race is a loss not just for their families—but for our entire society.

According to an article citing homicide reports of those killed by the LAPD, 81% were black or Latino. White men are just not being gunned down at the same rate, and until we can acknowledge this then it will continue to happen.

Recently I had an article published about what would have happened differently if Stanford rapist Brock Turner had been black, because even before these most recent shootings it was evident that the judicial system approached people of color differently.

And my entire point from that article was proven when Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police and his prior records were published—yet, when Brock Turner was arrested on rape charges his swim times were published by the media as if that made his crime any less despicable.

Growing up black in our country is an entire different experience than growing up white.

Perhaps not to the same degree in all areas or the country, but generally speaking when someone is born white they aren’t given the sole job of having to prove that they are different than the stereotype of their entire race.

When a white man such as James E. Holmes commits a crime like the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting of 2012, we don’t condemn his entire race his entire race and culture, yet when a black man is shot and killed, we justify it by saying that he was asking for it in some way.

Being white means you are responsible for your own decisions and life, whereas to being black means that you are not only responsible for yourself, but also for every other member of your race.

Until we can stop these unprecedented lies and acceptance in the belief that something separates us as humans, we will continue to raise future generations on the bitter taste of hate and supremacy.

Yes, all lives matter, but right now let’s focus on the black lives.

The lives that are being taken unfairly and too soon by hands that are quick to pull the trigger on their own prejudices.

I refuse to bring my daughters up in a world where this is an acceptable norm, and no longer will I turn a blind eye to the hate that is growing around me, because if I can do anything to raise my voice and help to open eyes then I will.

Until a black child growing up has the same opportunities and fairness afforded to those children who are white, then I will continue to shout from the rooftops even if those who surround me aren’t comfortable with my words.

There is a reason that we are here right now in this situation, and it’s because as a country we have sent the message that black lives don’t matter as much as white ones.

That somehow being born a lighter skins means that you deserve more safety and fairness than someone with darker skin. This is a reality that I am not okay with. And it’s precisely because all lives matter that we have to realize black lives matter too. Because #EveryBlackLifeMatters.

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Author: Kate Rose

Image: Gerry Lauzon/Flickr; Lord Jim/Flickr

Editors: Caitlin Oriel; Emily Bartran

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