Black lives matter. They do. And, to those of you immediately with your hackles raised, all of our lives do matter. But people already know white lives matter. No one is denying white people education, jobs, or the right to live. People need to understand all lives matter, so we need to focus on the lives currently at risk and not receiving equal treatment.
I am hurt by what I see on the news and read all over the Internet. I cry for my friends who have fears I can never fix. I decided that I need to quit having a pity party and do something about it. I am submitting a conference proposal to present to my fellow educators about Black Lives Matter. I hope to explain it in a context that people will understand. I hope to change some minds.
Black Lives Matter is not just about police brutality. It is much more complicated than that. There are racial disparities in all areas of life. From birth, black and brown children are treated differently. They are raised to be extra polite and kind and respectful. But why? Do their parents want to have well-behaved kids? Yes, but this isn’t a desire, it’s a survival skill. This is not just about interaction with police. Black students are more likely to be suspended and expelled – even at the preschool level.
Outside of this, there are education disparities which lead to more social problems. Schools have fewer resources. Not all parents can help with homework – maybe they are working or their education failed to prepare them. Perhaps children have to work in their teens to help provide for the family, or watch other family members while someone else works. When then do they get to do their homework? Or have a job to save for their future? What job will they get? Certainly not one at the same rate of pay or comfort as a white teen.
Do you see where this is going? It’s a cyclical social problem. Most are. To fix this, we need to break the cycle. How do we do that? By recognizing black lives matter. Don’t just tweet it, but actually get out there and do something about the racial inequalities in your town. Have a discussion. Challenge someone’s beliefs. Stand up for what is right.