On October 19, 2016, hundreds of people who work at Seattle Public Schools will be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts to school, and many educators will be using part of the day to teach students about institutional racism. Capping off the day is a rally at Washington Hall (153 14th Ave. Seattle) from 6-8pm, featuring speakers, musicians and poets.
I sincerely hope we are beginning to see a big shift in the conversation about racism.
If you are a white American like me, it’s likely you were raised to be “colorblind.” The post civil rights era I grew up in was framed with the assumption that all races are equal, so naturally, we assume, there’s no more racism, except perhaps in some backwoods southern or rural outposts. But this utopian idea hides an important truth: despite the occasional exception, African Americans in general are still struggling. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is a hollow platitude when tossed haughtily at people who have been unable to grow wealth thanks to redlining, the school to prison pipeline, and bias in the criminal justice system.
Returning to Black Lives Matter, I know some of you may wondering what the organization actually stands for. Please take a look at the guiding principles and 11 Major Misconceptions about the Black Lives Matter Movement. And if you are still saying, “But…All Lives Matter,” please watch this video.
From the Major Misconceptions link above: “The statement “black lives matter” is not an anti-white proposition. Contained within the statement is an unspoken but implied “too,” as in “black lives matter, too,” which suggests that the statement is one of inclusion rather than exclusion.”
We are all in this together. When some people are left out in the cold, we all suffer.
White supremacy: “The belief that white people matter more than others.” -Prof. Eddie Glaude
#BlackLivesMatter: “an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement.” –BLM official website