Truth: Black Lives Matter.

I recently saw this image on Facebook, one of but many posted by people who cry out, “All human lives matter!” or “We all bleed the same!” or “All lives matter – Jesus died for us all!”  Yes, all lives matter to God.  Yes, the ground is level at the foot of the cross.  Yes, we all bleed the same.  But now is not the time to ‘like and share’ these theological platitudes.  This is not a theological discussion – this is a social discussion.

The problem with this image I saw on Facebook is that it blatantly ignores the voices that are crying out to be heard right now.  Look closely – this image doesn’t mention black lives.  It mentions Indian lives.  And White lives.  And Blue lives.  But Black lives?  Apparently they can be ignored.  Sharing this image perpetuates the idea that black lives don’t matter in a time when they are desperately calling out.  If you’ve shared this image (or something similar), your racism stands out more than you ever thought possible.  If you can’t share an image that only says black lives matter – if you can’t share an image that even includes that line – then you don’t believe that all lives matter.  Sharing an image like this says that you believe all lives matter except black lives.

Now, you might say something like: “Black lives are included in the ‘Minority lives matter’ line in the image!”  But that still doesn’t make things better.  You’re saying that you want to say black lives matter, but you don’t want to upset your friends or family or whoever else might see it.  And yet you want them to think that you’re a good, full-spectrum-loving person, so you settled on this image.  But it’s a feeble middle-ground to land on – you’re trying to save face with family and friends when an entire race of people is struggling to breathe.

Sharing this image – and others like it – is done with good intentions (and there are roads paved with good intentions), but these images ignore the reality of the situation.  Yes, all lives matter.  But right now, all lives are not being treated well.  All lives are not being treated equally.  While some of us are able to sit on mountains of power and privilege as we post simple images to make ourselves feel good, there are black lives that continue to be abused and murdered in the valleys of oppression.  A black man was murdered in front of us all and we watched, shrugged our shoulders, and hit ‘share’ on a damned meme.

Look, I’m guilty, too.  While I haven’t shared an ‘All lives matter’ image, neither have I shared a ‘black lives matter’ image.  I haven’t been vocal in making it known that I believe that black lives matter – I have been silent, and my silence makes me just as guilty as those who share these images.  I am complicit in not using my voice to make my feelings known because I, too, have feared retribution from family and friends.  But at this point, it no longer matters: I must stand with the oppressed and face the retribution from family and friends.

Black lives matter.
I say it because I am called to speak and stand with the oppressed. 

Black lives matter.
I say it because I am called to stand against injustice.

Black lives matter.
I say it because I am called to correct error.

Black lives matter.
I say it because I believe it.
May it be so.  Dear God, may it be so.

much love. sheth.

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