Black Lives Matter. Period. Full Stop

Black. Lives. Matter. Period. Full Stop.

by Jane Tawel

June 3, 2020

 

blacklivesmatter.

Yesterday, I read a great, helpful, and meaningful essay that was about Biden’s comments on blacks voting in the upcoming election, but the comment is very relevant for all of us who are not waking up black in America today. Something we need to take in as we speak and if we speak. And it was this: “The message may be right, but we are not the right messenger”.

You may philosophically be correct when you insist that “all lives matter”, but if you are just coming to that conclusion as a response, a rebuttal, or a pass card for your inaction or complacency, as a bait and switch to the idea that “black lives matter”, then you haven’t earned the right. You are changing the conversation because you feel uncomfortable with the reality.

If you have been out there in the trenches working for justice for people of color, acting to make changes in institutionalized racism, voting against people who are incapable of empathy or of upholding the values of the American Dream for all, or if you are truly living a life of servant-hood and service for people who have never had your advantages, then go for it. Speak away about “all lives”. If not, perhaps it is better to listen first to the experts and to ask yourself: Do I truly believe enough to take real action? Do I honestly believe that black people matter enough to stand up and stand with them? Have I tried to find out about the reasons black people feel the way they do? Do I believe they have a right to be angry, to be tired after years of fearfulness and racist policies and treatment, to be shocked at the violence allowed against them again and again and again, to be sorrowful, to feel helpless? Do I care enough to remember the times I have felt that way because of something in my own life, and take in the deep knowledge, that if I were black I would feel that way every day, year after year, century after century — what would THAT be like — to never believe my life mattered as much as someone else’s because I had black skin? Do I believe in the words of Jesus and the echoing message of John F. Kennedy that “to whom much is given, much is required”?

I have spent a lifetime in the lap of white privilege, so of course I have never had to say people my color matter. That is already a given in this country. It shouldn’t be so difficult for us to see that it has never been and still is not a given for people of color in America. I feel my own need to stand with, stand for not just “my black friends” but for all Black Americans, at this time and then to shut up and listen to their pain and to call out people for their acceptance of white privilege, and to call out racism, and to start finding real ways for me to get off my old white duff and DO SOMETHING.

I will not change the conversation by saying “all lives matter” because I live in a country that has never believed that is true. I will do my best to use my voice for the right fights at the right time. And as in any thing, I will listen to the experts before I chime in. I am so grateful that I have experts who are willing to speak truth to me and who know what they are talking about, because they have studied– day after day, taken life after taken life, fear and sorrow after more fears and sorrows — lessons learned the hard way in the hard halls of experience while being black in this world.

Are you listening to the experts on the black experience in America today? I pray to the God of all of us, that I will continue to speak, but that more importantly I will act for better justice and equality for black people. period. full stop. –in this, my nation, whose owing is way past due. #blacklivesmatter

 

Published by

Jane Tawel

Still not old enough to know better. I root around and explore ideas in philosophy, spirituality, poetry, Judeo-Christian Worldview, family, relationships, and art. Often torn between encouragement & self-directed chastisement, I may sputter, but I still keep trying to move forward.

13 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter. Period. Full Stop”

    1. Puzzles of the Soul: Thank you so much for reading and your own heart-felt and true comment. It makes me feel better to know there are people like you out there in the world. May you find joy in the journey today, Jane

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So I posted this comment in the feed for the link you shared, but wanted to add it here as I hope others will read the powerful poem you shared with me: Moriaus: Wow. I am so glad you commented on my blog and shared your link to this poem. Powerful and True Truth! Reading it I was reminded of the first time I read Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise”. I am in a process of apologizing, stepping up, standing with, in the same way you are in a process of claiming your place, putting it in true perspective, using your gifts of writing to “bend light” –and so your poem about dark and light hits me where I live — who we are. I hope it will some day be who we WERE, but no longer are. Thank you. ~~ Jane

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    1. Brendan Birth — yes, that is excellent. I sadly actually know people who just don’t get it — well, do not WANT to get it. I think we privileged folks have gotten so used to never grieving, masking or “buying away” our pain, that we just don’t want to feel those things. Black people don’t have that luxury in this country and I refuse to become one of those who can not feel empathy and try to work towards change — it should hurt, it should cause pain. I am trying to live in it by choice to stand with and stand for those who have had no choice. When people were targeting Jewish people again in this country, shooting up synagogues, I tried my best to go there. There are truly groups of people who throughout history have been persecuted and abused, victims of prejudice, and unfair institutions of power, and worst of all — victims of others’ stupid hatred. Perhaps no one can attest to this more than black people throughout the world, and especially in America today. If I don’t own it personally, I am part of the problem. I know a lot of people don’t like to go there, but I must. Thanks for reading and commenting. It is greatly appreciated. I love people who make me think and who care enough to take the time to do so. May today bring joy in your journey, ~~Jane

      Liked by 1 person

    1. lancesheridan: Thank you so much! I realized I love that word “concur” — haven’t used it in ages — “con” meaning “with” and “cure” meaning happen in action as in “occur”. It is so much of what is good when we writers here “concur” or sometimes even challenge the thoughts of others — thank you so much for reading mine but also for your great blog which I am happy now to be following. Shalom to you as well, Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane, it is a wonderful pleasure. To hear or challenge is a good thing- keeps us on our toes. You’re very welcome- I throughly enjoy your skillful art with the pen! And, thank you for following, reading and offering feedback on my poetry! Best wishes, Lance.

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