I was yesterday years old when I finally understood why All Lives Can’t Matter Until Black Lives Matter. I still don’t understand all of it, but I am thankful that I am no longer as ignorant as I once was, and I’m sorry it’s taken this long.
I have other blog posts in drafts that I was originally going to publish these days, but those can wait. This is so much more important.
To be honest I’m still processing, and there’s just been so much happening in the world that is draining my mental and emotional capacity, but today is #blackouttuesday, and I want to note down my initial thoughts. I’ve been quiet on this issue for a long time, but no more.
I’m not sure how or where to begin, but perhaps I will start by making public the messages I’ve written to friends privately.
To a group chat on Facebook Messenger:
Man. there’s just been so much going on these days. I’m still processing my feelings and emotions on the entire thing, but more specifically I guess it’s really made me think more about my stance on the whole Black Lives Matter movement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sort of systemic oppression of black ppl in the UK so the entire concept was so foreign to me and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. However, this video proved very insightful to helping me make sense of what’s happening lately. Would highly recommend a watch if you haven’t seen it already:
My texts to a friend, who also had her mindset shifted but still had some questions after watching the video per my recommendation:
hey girl ❤️ i saw it everywhere and then finally decided to watch it and it was eye opening for me as well. i don’t think it’s saying that the looting is a good thing or justified, and i personally don’t agree with the looting aspect of the protests either. however, i think his point was that if looting of products and stores makes you feel uncomfortable, then consider how black people feel every day when it’s their literal lives that are being looted. police have gotten away with murder of black people for a long, long time. while i don’t think the looting is justified, i can understand where they’re all coming from.
considering this is all happening in the backdrop of COVID – blacks are known to be some of the poorest citizens out there. most of them can’t survive without a pay check each month, and yet they’ve been told to stay indoors and have lost their jobs – their livelihood, their income, their food. in addition, it’s been documented that blacks are dying at an alarmingly higher rate from COVID than any other race, whether it’s due to not having access to healthcare, not having money to survive etc. and then you add in police just casually killing them off like it’s nothing… it’s just all a perfect storm that has come to its climax. blacks feel like don’t have any other option, and that this is the only way to make their voices heard
because they have indeed tried to play ball, and they have continuously lost because the rules were never in their favour and the game was rigged against them.
So the point is: looting is not right, but I can understand why they’re doing it. I don’t think looting is to prove a point, but rather I think it’s a reaction to how they’ve been treated all these years. (Also I’m not sure that it’s all black people who are looting… It seems like there are just people who are being opportunistic about the whole thing and looting just to loot, not for a cause, because millions are unemployed and struggling financially due to COVID)
I think for me, the video just changed my understanding and perception, because before I was part of the all-lives-matter crew. But now I finally understand why black people are protesting so damn hard and have been protesting all these years. I have never experienced the kind of racism they go through in America. I can walk out of an apartment and not fear that neighbours are going to call the police on me just because I am black, and I can stand in my yard (if I had one) without worrying that armed police are randomly going to appear and shoot me dead. I mean… just that kind of existence… I just can’t imagine. And I don’t think anyone should have to live that way.
I mean, I was bullied in school as a kid for being Chinese. But never once did I fear that literally police would come and kill me for walking around my nice lil neighbourhood just for being Chinese. Or, if they did shoot me, I have confidence they’d be brought to justice. But that’s what black people face on a daily basis. I have to admit I’m one of those people who like to believe police had a reason for doing things, but George Floyd… you *literally see* that police had *no reason whatsoever* to kill him. NONE. And all of a sudden, you see those previous reports about police brutality against blacks in a different light. That yes, those black people were telling the truth, police had no reason to shoot them but they did because they could and they knew they could get away with it.
I’m still wrestling with how to support them in a way that is in line with Biblical teaching and my own Christian beliefs. However, at the very least, a step in the right direction is to do my part of educating myself and speaking up where I can.
I have heard it all said before, but I think it took Trevor Noah to actually spell it all out to me before it finally clicked in my head that what I enjoy as ‘freedom’ and a ‘right’ is actually a luxury and a privilege to black people.
And that is not right.