“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Many of my peers who support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement fail to understand that antiracism isn’t radical. An overwhelming majority of Americans already agree that racism should have no place in the country. Those found to be racists are publicly shamed and ostracized. Now, many take issue with the violence and more radical rhetoric associated with BLM, but that doesn’t mean they think black lives don’t matter. Instead, they disagree about the best ways to address racism and how widespread it is. But if you listen to what many of the movement’s supporters say, you’d think half the country was racist. That’s the central misunderstanding.
I can’t help but see that there is something insidious in portraying rioting and looting as an acceptable response to social injustice. I have received a lot of criticism (primarily from Coronado Facebook pages) for noticing this, but riots, in my opinion, harm the innocent, and I care about that. It breaks my heart to see friends endorse violence and theft at the same time as they voice their rage against oppression.
I have been told that I am not sensitive enough. That my moral compass prioritizes property over people. Or that I should check my “white privilege” and I disagree with this line of patronizing behavior, what does my skin color (I am Caucasian) or upbringing have to do with my political beliefs? My beliefs were formed through books I read, education I received and people I surround myself with. This is not unusual for most individuals.
The horrendous murder of George Floyd angers me, so do the murders of Chris Beaty, Patrick Underwood, David Dorn and Max Brewer (all African American Police Officers) who served their communities with the utmost respect and integrity. But I also feel for the business owners who see everything they’ve worked for destroyed with impunity, and the locals whose neighborhoods may never be the same again. I stand with them, I stand with the victims, whether they be black, white, or brown … I don’t think this makes me a racist. I believe this simply makes me a humanist. I care about all people, from all walks of life, who work hard and just want to put food on the table for their families etc.
As a single mother and a God-fearing woman, I am allowed to voice my opinions in a respectful and diplomatic manner. We all feel pain, anger and heartbreak, we just express it differently. Let’s do so, without the rhetoric, without the hate and without the social media shaming.