Lately I have taken to saying that western culture (especially here in America) is a forward thinking culture. We do not like to think of the past. Someone close to me said people are great at remembering history but terrible at interpreting it.
The point being we manipulate history to fit our needs.
Over the last two weeks with the nation yet again crying out against injustice you have people who stand opposite that cry. A few years back we saw what could easily be deemed the new civil rights movement begin in #blacklivesmatter.
*Please note that I am not defending all claims of the movement but I do recognize that this country has systemic issues in relation to how we treat non-dominant culture people.*
What has been most interesting to me is the rise to #AllLivesMatter. (to which I do agree but I will get back to this point later)
In fact usually people are posting quotes by MLK or even Muhammad Ali. We hold those great men in high esteem(rightfully so) looking to them as the models for which we dialogue and live out love and peace.
However, this is a perfect example of failing to remember history correctly or using it to one’s advantage. April 4th, 2016 marked 48 years since Dr. King was assassinated. 50 years ago (which isn’t that long ago) Dr. King was not a well liked man. Oh sure, we love him now BUT that generation (many who are alive) could not stand the man. In fact he led protest, he blocked streets and even “broke” the law in various fashions. The civil rights movement, (which many churches remained silent during) found itself pushing against the very fabric of American Culture and it was not pretty.
Today you have a similar thing happening. You take away the suits and ties (this isn’t the 50’s in which everyone dressed like that), you add in social media (instead of waiting for the paper to come out you now have instant access to these moments while they take place) and you truly are living in a time in which people are fighting for their civil rights. Like the 50’s and 60’s people are opposing them. Like then people are not happy that so much “fuss” is being raised and they believe it is political jargon. Like then, people are unsure of how to enter the dialogue.
Let us not pretend that this new movement is radically different in how it is viewed by the dominant culture. I am not comparing leaders, major principles, even tactics (intentionally so) but rather I am comparing the opposing response that paints this movement as hateful, selfish, delusional, and divisive. When the church calls out and refutes this generation’s efforts it reminds me when Dr. King wrote back to his fellow ministers of the faith (white ministers I add) who apparently sent him letters and told him his movement was “untimely and unwise”.
Let us not forget that just a short while ago the man we hold in high esteem was killed because the nation at large could not stand him. In another 50 years what would have been your part in transforming this nation? Will we have acted in ignorance? Will we have avoided getting to know people and educate ourselves? Or follow our own preconceived notions.
Saying all lives matter (while once again I 100% agree) is true it is quite dismissive because it assumes that anyone who cry black lives matter or anything else opposes all lives.
Dismissing a person and their perspective because you think you know how the world works (which is limited to your perspective) is quite presumptuous. It communicates that your viewpoint has more validity than others.
Is there ever a moment we can sit and just listen to people? Can we have honest conversations. Even if we don’t agree with anything except the fact that another human being is experiencing life differently than me.
We could BUT that call for us to acknowledge EVERY person is indeed important to listen to/spend time in dialogue with.
All Lives do matter but right now I want to discuss the state of Black people in America and how we can come alongside during this time. If you believe all lives matter then this should be so hard for you… should it?