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All lives matter

A Legacy of Hate


By Sevgi Fernandez 

No longer are the threats thinly veiled
No longer is your judgement of our little boys and girls spoon fed to us with a sprinkling of sugar to mask the coal that you plant in our hearts

The coal that with time and proper feeding seeps slowly through our beings raping us of hopes, dreams, pride and future

You have come full circle now

Openly feeding the currents of ignorance 

Nourishing the streams of fear, spawning a new generation of creatures who embrace inhumanity, who would sooner claw out their eyes than truly open them

“Let’s make America great again!” your rally cry as you latch on to the desperate 

As you leech any morsel of decency from the masses of drones who blindly follow

Your alternative facts, a glimpse into the alternate reality that is the 1%

Your past immigrant 

Your present dictator

Your future, a legacy of hate

……………

Please join our organization Together We Stand a nonprofit dedicated to dismantling racism, discrimination and police brutality nationwide, through Advocacy, Education and Legislation 

Togetherwestand.nationbuilder.com

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @TWSrevolution

#TogetherWeStand

#TheRevolutionIsHere

The Luxury of Colorblindness 


Written by: Sevgi Fernandez
 It is a luxury to walk through life not having to constantly be aware of your race. As a mixed woman, racial labels have followed me wherever I’ve gone, and I’m keenly aware that the darker a person’s skin, the more this statement is true.  
“I am Colorblind” or “I don’t see color”, are statements many of you have either heard or have said yourselves. I truly believe the only people who can “choose” to be colorblind, are whites. It is a luxury not to have to think about race. In a workshop I held last fall, we watched the documentary, A Conversation with White People on Race. Some of the statements, although simple, were profound. For example, a thirty something white man said, “I don’t think about being white, I just don’t.” This was followed by a middle aged white woman who said, “I really did not know I had a racial identity. I had no idea what that meant, how that shaped my outlook on life, my sense of optimism, sense of belonging, sense of safety.”

 

Now, I can all but guarantee that every single black person on this earth, knows they are black and is reminded of that fact each and every day. I think black people are very aware of our racial identity, and we are aware of how our racial identity dictates how safe we are, what type of education we can get, what type of healthcare we receive and what types of jobs we can attain. Race is of course not the only factor in any one of these, but it’s often the deciding factor.

Racism is a social construct developed to oppress. It has evolved over the centuries, but in essence, the process of labeling and stereotyping a person based on the color of their skin to keep them subservient to the dominant white race, has stayed the same. I’m going to share a pivotal event in my childhood that truly awakened me to the fact that the world saw me in the context of “race” not “person”.

Standing in line at school, the red faced white boy in front of me asked,“What are you?’

“Im half black, half white.” I said, feeling a little uncomfortable. The boy then scathingly stated,

“Well at least I can respect HALF of you,”And he turned to laugh with his friends. At that moment I felt a myriad of emotions jumping rapidly from one to another, shame, embarrassment, humiliation and when I landed on rage, my 12 year old fist connected with his 16 year old face. I’m not sure who was more shocked!

I share this as a way of illustrating that even as children we are shown we are different, we are less than. That certainly wasn’t the first time I became aware that my race, my skin color, played a part in how people would treat me, and still to this day, as a 43 year old soldier in the war on racism, I know that the future holds much more of the same.

We run every person through a set of implicit and explicit biases that we have developed over time. Implicit and explicit biases have been part of history since our inception. We are seeing the implications of these biases throughout the world and here in the United States. It seems to me that as we make more strides in this country towards tolerance, inclusion and equality for all i.e. electing our first Black President and legalizing same sex marriage, we become more divided as a society as race and racism become more prominent.

The effects of this systematic racism are apparent in the African American community across the country, wherever you look. It’s in the hopelessness of our youth, in the violence within our communities, and at the hands of the police. It’s in the educational system that is set up to fail our children and the healthcare system that is either unattainable or so discriminatory many fear ever seeking out the care they so desperately need. Rather than educating and nourishing the minds of our young people of color, the system is feeding the school to prison pipeline. So it is unlikely that you will come across a black person who says they are “colorblind”.

Black people have been systematically oppressed, discriminated against and brutalized simply because of their race since they were brought to this country as slaves. The system was set up to deny what should be our human rights, and that system is still at play today. We as people of color certainly believe All Lives Matter, yet All people haven’t had the daily struggles faced by blacks in this country. All people aren’t being shot, hung and choked to death by police. These are facts that cannot be denied. The reality is that our lives truly don’t matter outside of our own communities for the most part, and as we internalize the racism and oppression, they begin to matter less and less to us.

I do believe there are a great owing number of whites who are concerned about this racial divide and equality for people of color. I see more whites challenging themselves and asking the hard questions regarding their white privilege and implicit biases everyday. I think the movement from the black community over the past year specifically, has garnered much needed attention in mainstream and social media. This has enabled our messages related to the extreme state of racism and inequality in this country to reach whites whom otherwise would have continued on unaware. I am seeing more and more whites participating in protests and dialogues on the issues and I work along side many whom I respect deeply for their courage, commitment and humility, their ability to ask questions, to be wrong, to learn. It is quite exhilarating and gives me great hope. So although our country is arguably as polarized as it was 60 years ago or some may even say, 400 years ago, today a revolution is underway. Today people, be they black, white, yellow, red, brown or all of the above, are coming together as one, to challenge the machine that is Institutionalized racism. Each day that a step is taken together, a brick in the foundation of white supremacy that this country was built upon is removed.Until we can all have the luxury of being colorblind, because the day has come when in fact, All Lives Do Matter, and they matter Equally, the statement and movement Black Lives Matter is relevant and necessary.

 

Black Lives Matter…..Well, they do don’t they?

  

  

  


By: DJ Schuette 

http://www.djschuette.com

 It borders on absurd that it’s even necessary to write this particular post, but there are so, so many people out there incessantly raging against the Black Lives Matter movement that I felt I must. Every day, I see posts calling their members “racists,” emphatic proclamations of “All Lives Matter,” and pictures of police officers with “Their Lives Matter” emblazoned on them in some way, as if it’s become a competition to determine whose lives matter most. I should confess, for the record, that I was—until very recently—one of those “All Lives Matter” guys. But my opinion on the subject has evolved, so I encourage you to at least consider the content of this post before deciding one way or another. Maybe you’ll see things from a different perspective in a few minutes.

My own “aha!” moment came to me while reading a rather brilliant reddit post by user GeekAesthete (which you can read here if you wish). In short, it asks you to imagine that you’re at dinner with your family and your father is dishing everyone’s food, but leaves your plate empty. You say, “Hey Dad, I should get some.” In response, your father corrects you by saying “Everyone should get some.” That sentiment is true, and really, supports your very point—that everyone (including you) should get to enjoy dinner. But Dad’s response utterly rejected your concern without doing anything whatsoever to remedy it. Meanwhile, you’re starving and your still empty plate is a testament to just how little he cares. 

I’ve seen other fine examples floating around on the Internet: if I were to say “Save the Whales,” that in no way implies that I don’t care about dolphins, sharks, and stingrays; but if I were to instead say “Save All Marine Life,” how would you know that the whales are endangered? Another: Your house is burning down and someone is spraying water on a nearby home that isn’t on fire, with the caption “All Houses Matter.” By responding to BLM with “All Lives Matter”, we’re effectively saying that we don’t care if your house burns to the ground, as long as mine doesn’t. We’re refusing to even acknowledge the issue, are (conveniently) dismissing the concerns of people who are plainly in crisis, and who are already being singled out by our society and justice system.

The BLM movement has never stated (nor ever suggested) that other lives don’t matter. It’s not the “No Lives But Black Lives Matter” movement. I have yet to hear anyone chanting “Black lives matter more than yours!” If that were the case, I might understand people taking such exception. Instead, it’s very simply and succinctly stating a fact: black lives matter. And they do, right? If we can’t even agree on that much, then you need to take a good hard look in the mirror, because the person staring back at you is almost certainly a racist.

Some argue that the BLM moniker is itself racist—that it sows further division among us because it segregates one group from the whole. They feel that it would be more acceptable if the name were “Black Lives Matter Too.” Maybe it would seem more inclusive to some if it were stated that way, and BLM and their supporters wouldn’t constantly have to defend such a silly litany of semantic arguments. And they are silly. Do black lives matter? Yes or no? It’s not a trick question. It’s not “do black lives matter more than everyone else’s?” But, but but… No buts. So let me ask you again. Do black lives matter, or do they not?

Perhaps you’d feel better if we used the even more inclusive “All Lives Matter,” though that utterly fails to address the concerns of the black community. Or perhaps you’ll respond with “Cops Lives Matter,” as if those of us that support BLM are not also capable of supporting law enforcement. I’ve recently even heard some suggest that they should start a “White Lives Matter” group to counter the “reverse racism” that BLM perpetuates (this is at it’s core, ridiculous, since protesters of all races are welcomed to join Black Lives Matter rallies). Do white lives matter? Sure. If you want to start a movement based on that, knock yourself out. But white lives have always mattered in this country, so starting a WLM campaign would be petty and pointless and insensitive. Do all lives matter? Absolutely. And guess what? Included in that “all” are black lives. In saying “all lives matter,” you’ve just inherently agreed with the BLM movement. You’re actually on the same team—you’re just refusing to play because you don’t like the team name, and that, quite honestly, is a fine bit of ignorance. And what about cops? Do blue lives matter? Of course they do. But again, how does saying black lives matter suggest that police lives don’t? Why is BLM suddenly a siege on law enforcement? 

Many, including Fox News (that bastion of reporting integrity), point to an admittedly unfortunate chant (“Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon”) that took place at a BLM march recently as evidence of the racist, anti-cop, and potentially violent nature of the movement. It was sad to see that side come out of what otherwise amounted to a peaceful display of civil disobedience. I too was disappointed. But then I was reminded that there are bad people in every group—police, the church, protesters, white people—who have their own agendas, and want something that isn’t necessarily compatible with the message the rest are trying to convey. There are pedophile priests; should we therefore condemn the entire Catholic faith? There are a handful of bad cops out there—but that doesn’t mean that the overwhelming majority of them aren’t incredibly brave and kind men and women doing a sometimes dangerous and often thankless job of serving and protecting the public. Sometimes peaceful protests get out of control because an unruly few instigate and fuel riots and looting. (Some people really do just want to watch the world burn). The few—as bad as they may seem—can’t be used as a barometer to judge the whole. So while I freely admit the chant was vile and unfortunate, I have to remember that the content of that chant is not the message that BLM portrays—which is, simply, that black lives matter. Their goal is to create awareness and to attempt to correct a society and justice system that consistently appears to deem black lives as less valuable than those of others. 

Fox News and many police officials have also latched on to the tragic murder of a Texas sheriff’s deputy at the hands of a black man as further evidence of the violent nature of BLM, and have now gone so far as to label them as a “hate group.” It is important to separate fact from fiction here, however. There is absolutely NO evidence that the killing was in any way related to the Black Lives Matter movement. While they would have you believe that BLM is inspiring violence against cops, police deaths have gone DOWN since the inception of BLM in 2013. There is precisely zero correlation between BLM and increased violence against police officers. There has however, been an increase of police lethal force cases the past few years. Last year 1106 deaths came at the hands of police. This year, we’re on track for 1100. There have been 1070 (more than 200 of those unarmed) so far in 2015. Of those, 25% of the victims were black, yet the black population is less than 13%. Without even speculating what the reasons may be, the simple fact is that black people are being killed by the police at a rate DOUBLE their population. If you want to see the live up-to-the-minute information, take a look at The Counted. It’s truly eye opening. Every. Eight. Hours.

Still other detractors use the argument that there are black people who disagree with the BLM campaign in principle. Of course there are. Some southern black people supported the right to fly the confederate flag on government grounds, despite the fact that it was seen as hurtful to millions of others. Some don’t feel that the team name “Redskins” is at all offensive, while others find it racist and insensitive. Nothing will ever have the complete support of any group­—we are all individuals with our own ideas and influences and experiences. But that does not mean that we should ever stop trying to do right by our country’s people, and provide all of them with respect and an equitable chance to succeed.

I agree it’s sad that we still have to have these conversations in 2015. But we do. Nothing will ever change if we don’t acknowledge that there is a problem and damn well do something about it. Saying “All Lives Matter,” doesn’t allow black people to ask why they’re being killed more often by police. It doesn’t allow them to ask for change in their communities. It shuts them down, and makes them feel as if their concerns don’t matter. It suggests that we still place less value on their lives than other lives. And it implies that WE DON’T CARE.

 

So to all of you still saying “All Lives Matter,” stop. Just fucking stop.

And listen.

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