I have some thoughts to add to the discussion on Black Lives Matter and “all lives matter.”
It is obvious that all lives matter, but I believe by making that statement in response to the Black Lives Matter slogan one is either disregarding or minimizing the impact of white racism. Saying all lives matter is like going to the doctor with a broken bone and being told “no big deal, all bones matter.”
America’s original sin of enslaving Africans, which begat white racism and the myth of white supremacy, remains deeply embedded in our society and institutions. There have been advances in moving toward political equality. The recent death of John Lewis recalls those advances, but there has always been a push-back.
While most white Americans view the police as guardians of justice, people of color view the police as an occupying entity in their communities. A force to be feared. The murder of George Floyd was simply the last straw in a long series of racist atrocities suffered by people of color. Out of the reaction to the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks has come a marvelous witness by millions of Americans in the streets of both major cities and small towns. Even more heartening, those marching for racial justice have included many white youths.
A majority of white Americans now believe there is systemic racism directed toward African Americans. For the first time Americans are recognizing the impact of the country’s original sin. I have hope, as did John Lewis, that America may finally be coming to grips with its ingrained racism, the unfinished business of Martin Luther King’s dream.
The time is at hand for the people of America to act to remove systemic racism. A time to learn to walk with our African American brothers and sisters understanding, as best we can, their travails. A time to respect the dignity of every human being.