Life Matters. Period.

I am saddened, as is anyone with a heart, by the unnecessary death of any American citizen resulting from injustice.  If police or authority figures abuse their power they should be disciplined without exception.  I understand that minorities suffer more frequent abuse and that sadly, racism is a factor that must be taken into account when judging motivations. However, reversing that racism is not only ineffective, but critically damaging to the progress we have achieved as a nation.

We have history. It is important that we try to gain unbiased understanding of all factual events of our development.  Textbooks can be revisionist. Yes, white accounts form much of our narrative as whites were often more educated and in a higher position of wealth when that history was recorded. That does not mean that our comprehension must be limited to what we were taught in school.  Thanks to the internet there are myriad sites at our fingertips and endless accounts of people from all nations that are accessible. I am fascinated by the viewpoints of all peoples. I am grateful for the opportunity to deepen my understanding of all cultures.

Ostensibly the”Black Lives Matter” movement exists as a support for racial education and appreciation.  It is not working that way.  Instead it is aggravating tensions. I have many liberal, openhearted friends who are whipped into a frenzy over the current rhetoric in use. They are rabid in their enthusiasm to condemn the white man as oppressor.  Really? This is not 1950, when segregation was commonplace.  We have a black president.  We as a nation have made tremendous strides in overcoming racial prejudice.  Yes, there is always more that can be done, but it will not be accomplished through replacing one victimized group of citizens for another.

Whites have a more established history, but are they to apologize for their previous successes?  Are whites to suffer now in atonement for the actions and perceptions of previous generations?  If so, then all the progress we have struggled to make as a nation has been fruitless.  Reversing the status on the ladder is not erasing racism.  Laying the ladder on level ground where all are respected should be our goal.

The Hispanics in our nation are currently experiencing many of the socio-economic difficulties that other immigrant groups have faced in the past.  Yet they are not the focus of this “lives matter” movement.  Are they not of equal stature? Being a white woman married to a Hispanic male I have experienced prejudice myself and certainly have witnessed the struggles of my husband’s family in difficult situations.  I have heard a certain amount of “reverse racism” in their complaints about the current establishment but nothing close to the angry resentment spewing forth from “Black Lives Matter.”

Of course black lives matter, as do Hispanics and white, brown, yellow, gay, blue, transgendered, differently abled, and every other human citizen of our society.  Harping on differences and angrily emphasizing cultural disparity is not fixing anything.  Violent protests achieve nothing.  Escalation and ugly incidents result. Police lives also matter. We do not need anger.  We need respect for all.

We are so busy being judgmental and pointing fingers that we are fostering more division than understanding.  The new pressure to be vocal constant critics, to embrace one race while condemning another leads to the same exclusionary society we wish to eradicate.  As each race seeks to defend its own we are striking out instead of reaching out.  The motivation may be positive, but the result is not. We are erasing the very real progress in race relations that Dr. King and many others fought so hard for.

We need to stop differentiating and seek common ground. Your skin color and ethnic background are part of who you are.  Respect your own history and the history of others. More importantly,  welcome and appreciate the present moment that we share. We are Americans. We are a nation of all races working and living together. Stop blaming.  Accept personal responsibility for being a worthwhile human being with a strong moral compass. If we take the same time to improve our own understanding and behavior that we currently waste on judging others we will begin to see real progress.  We owe it to ourselves and our fellow citizens to do better.  Take time and show respect.  All life matters.

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