I Dare You to Say All Lives Matter.

Today I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across this status: “All Lives Matter.” It was a young woman’s response to her take on the Black Lives Matter movement. Though we were friends online I must admit I didn’t know much about her. I knew that she was White and I assumed it probably contributed to her opinion. It wasn’t until I scrolled through her post’s responses that I also learned about her privilege. All of the people who responded were also young and White. The post had about fifty responses at the time that I read through it. People were going back and forth about why the Black Lives Matter movement either was or was not important. The person whom I was the most familiar with said things like Black people also had the highest crime rate. He told one person to get off their high horse for supporting the movement. One comment that stuck out the most was: “It’s funny you’re all a bunch of privileged hipsters arguing about a movement that doesn’t affect you at all.”

By the end of scrolling through the comments I was shaking. I noticed that not one person of color had been a part of the discussion. In the moment I felt uncomfortable. I felt angry. I also felt afraid. The fear steamed from a deep seeded belief that in my Blackness I could never be as controversial as that without ostracizing at least a handful of White friends. I felt angry because as a Black person, the fight to own my Blackness, and to matter didn’t come without an assumption that I’m trying to discredit every other person or race. Finally the discomfort came from a realization that as person who also has a stand on such matters I’d have to take it. I’m finally seeing that in the art of conflict trying to be neutral is dangerous. The truth is in a war somebody always has to surrender.

The thing is at least for me, things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t negate the importance of other lives who aren’t Black. Still I personally would like to disassociate from Black Lives Matter shaming. It goes without saying that the world needs peace throughout, and it’s okay to assert that a specific culture matters too. My name is Brittaney. I have a Black life and it matters. Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.

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