I woke up this morning to THIS NEWS. The New York Times. Headline. About my city.
That, on the heels of the Alton Sterling shooting.
A few months ago I attended a forum held at the college where I teach. Students and faculty and university staff got together to talk about the Jamar Clark shooting and the decision not to prosecute the police officers involved. With great compassion, there was a discussion where feelings were aired. In one powerful exchange, someone very thoughtfully asked, “What is the meaning of using #BlackLivesMatter? Don’t all lives matter? Can you please help me understand?”
With great care and compassion an African American student answered that of course all lives matter, but when there is a particular issue comes up that highlights a particular problem, there is a need to emphasize that particular problem, along with the pain involved. “It’s like going to a rally for cancer survivors where they say ‘Cancer sucks!’ and someone pipes up and says, ‘Yeah, but so does AIDS.'”
So, today, I scream in my spirit and weep in my heart and sob out: DO BLACK LIVES MATTER?
Today, I lament. I don’t try to be theologically correct. I am hurting for many friends who voice their fears today. I am hurting because of a former student who posted just a few days ago that not far from where last night’s shooting took place SHE was pulled over for “DWB.” (Driving While Black)
I lament because, as a white man, I will hear the arguments all over again:
“Well, Alton Sterling had a criminal record.”
“Well, if they would do what the police tell them, it would be okay.”
I’d use stronger language, but I know my mom reads these posts.
In lament, I cry out because I’m tired of the excuses. I cry out because I’m tired of people responding with statistics about “black on black” crimes.
In the case of Philando Castile, there will be the attempt to assassinate his character, but I am SO DONE to these lousy excuses. A man driving with his girlfriend and little girl with a busted tail light… is dead. It wasn’t 2 a.m. It was 9 p.m. He wasn’t drunk, drugged out, selling anything illegal. He was driving with his family. And he is dead today.
So, today, I will gladly field all the lousy excuses we, as white people, throw out, and I will throw a lot of things back! In lament, the sorrow overtakes rationale, so lament will rule the day.
Do Black Lives REALLY Matter?
When we hear of a shooting like this and immediately think, “Well, if he had just done…” do black lives matter?
Would a cop come up a white family and react the exact same way? Would a white man informing a cop that he is carrying a weapon legally and trying to comply with the officer’s instructions be dead today?
And where IS the NRA today? Will they rise up and defend a BLACK man legally carrying?
Today is a day for lament.
DO black lives matter?
How long, O Lord?