Can You Hear Me? Will It Matter?
Let’s be clear, if you openly react negatively when you hear Black Lives Matter; you perpetuate racism.
If you can’t hear that, you aren’t listening.
When you’re talking, or planning your words, or reacting without a pause after someone speaks; you aren’t listening.
If you can’t feel someone’s pain, anger, frustration; you don’t have empathy.
If you can’t empathize, you can’t understand or hope to ever hear the truth of oppressed people from their view.
If you react defensively to someone’s attempt to share pain, anger, and frustration over being the target of racism; you diminish them and perpetuate racism; or shall I say, supremacy of your own race. You make their position not matter; subordinate to yours.
When you throw back a retort, “All lives matter” or “Blue lives matter” you are being petulantly defensive. Of course they matter. But by diminishing someone’s cries against racism with those one-upping counter-claims, you reduce the subject to a simple-minded, vulgar competition.
When deeply wounded humans rebel against generations of ongoing oppression, they’re choosing what any human would choose; self-preservation over submission.
Has anyone ever known your pain the way you do? No. Only the injured can feel their own pain. Only the oppressed can know the feeling of oppression.
Empathy accepts another’s truth of injury and oppression without question. Empathy suspends judgement and feels as closely as one can while not walking in the other’s actual shoes.
So dig deep into your innocence and essential humanity. Go back before you chose up teams, before you were aware that people are all different. Sit with your innocent self, not your defensive self. Consider.
Begin now to practice being blind to differences. Practice it every day you’re awake and you will become awakened through practice.
Find shared human experience. Feel how you would feel to be a targeted citizen in your own country. Feel your own rebellion rise in your craw.
Become teachable and hear what’s being said. Black Lives Do Matter. They always have and always will.
It can’t be said loudly enough. It bears repeating until it is heard. In this time, no matter whose lives you think matter, and they all do, the message of Black Lives Matter matters more.
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you don’t understand, things are just as they are. ~Zen Proverb
Jim Beach has been a member of All Souls since the early 80’s. Jim sang in the adult choir when singing from the pews was a thing, served on building and grounds committees and served as the landscape architect for the Garden of All Souls.