You, A White Person, Needs To Understand That #BlackLivesMatter Doesn't Mean White Lives Don't

You, A White Person, Needs To Understand That #BlackLivesMatter Doesn't Mean White Lives Don't

Before you start shouting that "All lives matter!" just think about what you’re saying.
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Lately, it seems like racism is spreading like wildfire.

Some blame Trump for this and it’s easy to do so.

However, I do not think Trump caused any of this.

Racism has always been here. Trump just revealed it to us.

With each protest and battle for each side to be heard, everyone stomps on the negativity and lets the aggression speak for the fight itself.

While actions do speak louder than words, I’m afraid the actions of some often overtake the message of many, causing you to completely miss the point.

I constantly hear white people clap back that "All Lives Matter" the minute someone speaks up and says "Black Lives Matter," but again, you’re missing the point.

Let’s think about something for a minute. Do you even know how the #BlackLivesMatter movement got started or WHO started it?

Before you start shouting that "All lives matter!" just think about what you’re saying.

After the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, three black women of the LGBT community, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza decided something needed to be done.

They wanted to draw attention to the violence coming against the Black community. They wanted to highlight the egregious ways in which Black women, specifically Black trans women, are violated.

So, they came up with this political conversation, a way to announce to the country that not only are they HERE but that they matter. They ALL matter.

Which seems like it goes right along with the "All Lives Matter" campaign that keeps coming back around.

#BlackLivesMatter is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, their contributions to society and their resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

It was never about saying white people don’t matter or that black people matter more. It was simply to say, "We matter too."

I have no idea why this concept is so damn difficult to understand. I am white, and I understand it.

Mostly because I am neither deaf nor blind. I think that’s kind of all it really takes to realize that we’re not exactly being treated as equals here.

It doesn’t take having a black friend or coworker or knowing a person of color. It is as simple as opening your eyes to what is happening in front of you.

In 2015, 38 unarmed black men and women were killed by police officers in the United States.

In 2016, another 19 unarmed black men and women were killed.

In 2017, another 20.

And so far in 2018, there have been seven murders of unarmed black men and women by police officers here in the United States.

That’s 84 men and women that were labeled a danger by their skin color that never got to go home to their families. 84 people in four years’ time.

That averages out to nearly two deaths a month.

At what point did everyone decide this wasn’t a big deal?

#BlackLivesMatter really broke ground in 2014, after Ferguson Police Officer, Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. Organizers rallied and developed a plan of action to head to the occupied territory, and over 600 people gathered to support one another and give voice to the injustices occurring across America.

What most people remember about that is the violence that ensued. There were people that got angry and started destroying property and while it gave a great name to the movement, it cast a negative light on its mission.

Ferguson was not meant to destroy a town. It was an aberration.

It was the start of something. It was a new voice.

What you don’t know is that Ferguson launched the beginning of a growing and powerful movement that’s sole purpose is to fight for the equal rights that should have already existed.

There are now over 40 chapters of #BlackLivesMatter communities. There are community organizers and centers and teams of advocates that have come together to support one another and promote healing and create bonds and allies within these communities.

No one should have to fear the police or fear walking down the street just because of their skin color.

No one should have their character assassinated in defense of a harmful act against them that was never warranted.

It’s easy to try to make everything sound equal by calling out "All Lives Matter," but all that does is redirect attention away from the injustices that are plaguing America.

Women are not treated equally to men. The LGBT community is not treated equally to the binary heteronormative community. And no one is treated the same as the white community.

At least not yet...

Cover Image Credit: workingfamiliesparty / Flickr

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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