I have to write on this. Not because I have anything particularly valuable to say, but because if I don’t, I’m part of the problem. If I stay silent, I’m encouraging the oppressor. I refuse to support injustice and inequality. I refuse to encourage violence and murder.
So I am standing in the gap and calling for change.
And if I lose friends, if I lose “followers,” so be it. Better that loss, than the loss of human lives in a nation built on liberty and justice for all — unless you don’t fit that “liberty and justice” mold. That white, gun-toting, rebel-rousing, faith-filled, liberty-and-justice mold. It’s fine to be a rebel if you’re white. It’s fine to carry guns — semi-automatic weapons even — if you’re white. It’s fine to be a person of faith — as long as you’re Christian and white. It’s fine to want liberty and justice, as long as you’re white.
America. A nation built on lies bred on the backs of people of color forced to forge the American Dream. Well, that dream is a nightmare and I refuse to participate. I refuse to bury my head in the sand. Instead, I will scream at the top of my lungs until we all wake up.
I am no expert. My skin is not black. I cannot say I understand. I can, however, say I empathize. I can, however, say I support you. I can, however, do all I can possibly do to help. I can acknowledge the injustice and speak for change. I can speak out from my heart for my students, my student-athletes, my friends, my fellow humans.
I owe them my love, my support, my energy, and my efforts. I owe them the acknowledgment of inequality. We all do. And we owe them more than that. We owe them equality.
I have seen and heard and felt the racist comments and undercurrents in my classroom whenever we’ve tried to discuss inequality. Inevitably, the room becomes a harshly-divided hotbed of contention — and unwaveringly along color lines. There are far too few white students willing to take a stand with their black peers and acknowledge they have seen and heard the racism inherent in our community. There are, thankfully, a small handful willing to speak up for their peers.
Along with Hispanic and Asian students, they will speak up. Because they know. They understand. They see and hear and feel it too. But inside the walls of my classroom — and inside the walls of my social media accounts, I regularly hear, “Well, honestly, ALL lives matter.”
Well, of course they do. Nobody is saying they don’t. But plenty of people ARE saying Black lives don’t matter.
- Through their actions. (Refusing to see an undeniable truth IS action and it is unforgivable.)
- Through negative labeling to “justify” the violence.
- Through the continued denial of the obvious and ongoing racist crisis in the nation (I hesitate to use the words “Our Nation” when it so obviously denies freedom and justice for ALL).
- Through the staggering number of minority deaths at the hands of law enforcement.
- Through the refusal of the legal system to hold those responsible for the all those deaths legally responsible.
- Through the arguments, “But he was resisting arrest”; “But they shouldn’t have been hanging with that crowd”; “But he was jogging in cargo pants”; “But, but, but, but…”
No more butts. We have too many assholes in the world already. There is no excuse, and there is no more time for excuses. Stand up and say No More. No more negative portrayals. No more negative nouns. No more labels. No more statistics. No more names. No more deaths. No more time.
There is only time now for support and for change. Stand in the gap. Help make change. Demand justice. For George Floyd. For Ahmaud Arbery. For Breonna Taylor. For Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Philando Castile. For so many more…
For the many who have been enslaved, scarred, broken, and murdered in the shameful history of a nation built on the dreams of the few at the expense of the many. This. Is. America.
And until something changes, it is a sham.