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Processing What We Mean When We Say 'Black Lives Matter'

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Watching what’s been going on in the U.S. these past days, I know this is not the time to be silent. I’ve been trying to process, but it’s just one thing after another.

But here are my thoughts:

People who don’t understand Black Lives Matter act like the movement is called, “Only Black Lives Matter,” and refuse to acknowledge it means Black Lives Matter Too. No matter how many times you explain it, it seems like some people just don’t get it. Why? Because they don’t want to get it! If they admitted there was a problem, they’d be opening themselves up to being held accountable, so they deny, deny, deny like Shaggy. “It wasn’t me!”

The fact that there’s much more of a response now has nothing to do with how violent it was or that it was caught on video.

We’ve seen all that before and it didn’t make any difference.

It might have something to do with people being stuck at home (possibly out of work) due to lockdown, and the level of worn-out we’re all feeling because of the pandemic (on a scale we never imagined).

The fact that all of this is happening while COVID-19 is still a very real and scary threat, when we’re already bracing for surges due to lack of restrictions, just amplifies the anxiety we’re all feeling now. Not only are protesters being seriously harmed, they’ll be up against the virus next. Because of medical racism and other health disparities, there’s a chance they won’t get the care they need.

All of these elements are deeply concerning on so many levels. It’s becoming clearer by the day that the only way to stop the U.S. from becoming an even scarier place (where no one’s even able to rebel!) for years to come, is for drastic change to happen asap. The change we need isn’t going to be a show of physical force; it needs to be something tactical, something well thought out. But change can come.


Getty image via ilyaliren

Originally published: June 3, 2020
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