This piece, Strategic Planning Through An Anti-Racist Lens, first appeared on the NeonCRM blog as…
White People Don’t Believe Black Lives Matter
My Black friends today are in excruciating pain. And much of White America has no clue why. Jordan Edwards, a 15 year old child, was gunned down in Dallas, Texas by a police officer on Monday, May 1, 2017. He was leaving a party that he decided was feeling unsafe to him. He was in a car that was driving away when a cop shot him. With a rifle. There is no possible acceptable reason for a cop to fire a rifle into a moving vehicle that is filled with kids. We need to fix this problem of cops repeatedly murdering People of Color while White people walk away alive. Part of the reason this is happening is that White people don’t care. White people don’t believe Black Lives Matter.
Do You Know Who Jordan Edwards Is? Or Rekia Boyd?
If we did believe that Black Lives Matter, then we would do what needed to be done to stop these murders of Black people by cops. Think for a moment about how this country would respond if a White kid was murdered the way Jordan Edwards was murdered. There would be such outrage. Politicians around the country would be giving speeches about how we needed to do an investigation into how this could happen so that it never happens again. White people on Facebook would be posting about how awful it was that this kid was killed and how the system needed to be fixed. We would all be so sad for the family and mourning the loss of such a great kid for society. Yet, so many White people will have absolutely no clue who Jordan Edwards is. Or Mike Brown. Or Rekia Boyd. Or Alton Sterling. Or Tamir Rice. Or Korryn Gaines. Or Philando Castile. Or Eric Garner. How many of these names do you know? How many have you heard of before? There are so many others who could be added to that list.
White America is Afraid of Black & Brown People
We are a violent country. We live in fear. And we are especially afraid of Black and Brown people. That has an impact. And that impact is deadly. Especially when cops are involved. According to Vox, citing data from The Guardian, “…black Americans are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be killed by police when accounting for population.” That there isn’t outrage among White Americans proves my point that White people don’t believe Black Lives Matter. This has absolutely got to change.
We Can And Must Do Better
Today, I am challenging the White people I know and myself as well to do better. We need to fix this. And the only way that is going to happen is if we decide that Black Lives Matter…and that they matter as much as White lives. How do we do that? We have to start by making up the deficit that exists in our value of Black lives. Which means we need to do more than we might do to show that all lives matter. We focus specifically on making sure that Black Lives Matter. We make it a point to know more by reading books by Black people. We make the effort to hear from more Black voices. We put energy into supporting Black-led racial justice movements and organizations, by showing up with our money and with our bodies. We invest in Black communities by supporting Black-owned businesses. We go hear Black speakers and see performances by Black artists. And we communicate regularly with our politicians to make sure they know that Black Lives Matter. And they need to make decisions that make it clear that Black Lives Matter.
I Commit To Doing Better
When we in White American finally decide that Black Lives Matter, our country will reflect that. And when we do that, we will all benefit. Because when we center the most marginalized among us, we all benefit. I am going to continue listening to and elevating Black voices. I am going to continue to contribute money and time to Black causes, businesses, and people. And I am going to continue to push my White friends and myself to grow in our understanding of racial justice and anti-Black racism by reading more books by Black people and listening more to Black people.
Won’t You Join Me?
Who is in? If you are a White person, are you willing to make a commitment to changing our communities to demonstrate in every way possible that Black Lives really do matter? I encourage you to make a public commitment by using the comments as a space where you say what you are willing to do.
If you are looking for resources, a friend posted a truly great list of ways to combat police brutality. (And wants no attribution.) I shared that info on Facebook in this post.