Open Letter – Racial Justice Starts When Dehumanization Stops
Thank you for clicking the link and for taking the time to read this. I appreciate you.
￼￼For racial justice, we must see black people as real and human. I believe there has to be real love. Deep down love. Love that is honest and comes at the times we least want to give it. When our ideas or ego says one thing, but the religious or non-religious moral code we choose to follow says something different.
Part of love is NOT writing off or treating black communities as less because they aren’t in your view. Because you haven’t lived their experiences. Because you're certain you're correct when they say, "No, that's not it."
￼If we want to love fully, ￼I believe we need to reach beyond what we know, we need to hear and see the things that make us uncomfortable, and do our damnedest to understand another perspective.
￼George Floyd was killed in front of our eyes, a second video shows our suspicions are valid. ￼All four officers involved are fired, and one of them is arrested. The arrest (story here) is a surprise. Unprecedented, in fact. And THAT should shock us all.
When we love each other, and we see their humanity, we cannot go back to enjoying our peace, free of the trauma in their life. It changes us. We can no longer make excuses for the death of unarmed black people by law enforcement. "He didn't comply!" "She didn't move fast enough." "He ran away." None of those excuses should be a death sentence.
There’s an old saying, ‘Once you see it, you can’t un-see it.’ It can be something as simple as noticing that a ‘girls’ microscope toy is under-powered compared to a similar toy for ‘boys’.
Same with racial injustice. ￼I firmly believe if someone’s first reaction to hearing “Black Lives Matter!” is to correct the person by saying "ALL lives matter!", ￼you haven’t yet seen that which you can’t un-see (maybe because you think you're being excluded?).
If you’re reaction to people taking offense to racist and derogatory statements and memes is, ‘C’mon, its a joke. No one offended by this stuff until a few years ago!’ You haven’t yet seen that which you can’t un-see (maybe because the people offended didn't have a platform to speak from).
And if you've recently come to believe racism in 2020 isn't just here because people have been "stirring of the pot," it means your ability to not see it is turning into seeing the things you can’t un-see.
The depth of love we need to see from a different perspective, to see the humanity of those dehumanized, is great. Why? Because once you see it, you see it more and more. It becomes so obvious to you you can't believe you didn't notice it before. And honestly, it makes you tired. So your love bucket must be deep.
When neighborhoods are destroyed and riots break out, the idea of "If they're going to destroy things then they don't deserve justice" makes it easy to go back to ignoring the issue of racial justice.
That's another reason the depth of love needed is so great. We need to love hard to see past what the news tells us, and see the provocateurs interested only in anarchy, or politicians trying to make selfish noise for what they are. It takes strength to put our feelings and years of understanding aside to give the other perspective a shot.
So what can we do? I wouldn't presume to tell you what the black community wants us to do. So listen to Friday's Rochester Today on KROC-AM 1340 and 96.9 FM. From 11-Noon it'll be an hour of exactly that. Download the app HERE so you'll be sure to catch it.
Maybe the best we can do is practice at love. Maybe that means reading books you wouldn’t normally read to get a new view on being a minority in the USA. Maybe its searching out and sending money to organizations on the ground, in the neighborhoods working every day (like the one in this story, Shepherds Works)
Practicing love can also be standing up and standing with people that are marginalized so others can’t help but see and hear them. That's what I try to do through the radio.
￼Love isn’t a cure. But it is what will open our eyes so we take action to make sure the ideals of the USA are accessible to all.
And the time for love is NOW. Do you think it's too hard to love people you're so mad at? Listen to Big Mama in Raisin In the Sun, love is most needed when its the hardest to give. It gives you both strength.
“Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. (Looking at her)
Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him.
Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning - because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so! when you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun”
TL:DR Version: Show love by being willing to hear and see different perspectives on the issue of racial justice.
PS - I'm always eager to hear corrections or complaints. E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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