I woke this morning to the radio, guess I didn’t push the slider all the way to buzzer. A radio DJ was talking about the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He was debating with another DJ how it supports black supremacy in that it incites violence on police officers and others. The conversation devolved quickly from there and I tuned it out because my opinion on the matter doesn’t quite align with the accepted views.
We all bleed red
I can recall with vivid detail the first time I said the statement “we all bleed red, so shut up.” I was in high school, primarily white at the time, and my views towards race and violence were naive at best. There were over 1,200 students in my high school with less than 100 minorities. My high school was like any other, clicks of people aligned to common interests: jocks, nerds, cool, not cool, black, etc. I never subscribed to the juvenile separation as I viewed everyone the same. Immediate respect until your actions dictated otherwise. It was a simple rule that holds true now as I round out my first 39 years on the planet.
This particular incident involved my befriending of an African American that shared 4 of 8 classes, all in the afternoon, with me. Lets call him Joe. Joe and I literally walked in the same direction, every day, for weeks, until I finally decided to start talking to him. At first it was awkward, almost like we shouldn’t be talking, but it was more than that. Even now as I recall, I can’t quite come up with an explanation as to how or why it felt that way. Regardless, we ended up becoming decent friends. It was months before I actually ventured up to his click one morning to say good morning. His reaction towards me was the polar opposite of how we had been for the last several months in the hallways walking to classes. It caught me off guard.
Being the type of person I am, I persisted and shrugged off the reception. I asked a question about a class later in the day. Joe’s friends (I guess) turned to him and asked “You hang out with this dude?” He didn’t answer right away and I responded “We have four classes together in the afternoon, it’s not hanging out, but we do talk every day. What’s wrong with that?” Well, lets say that I got an earful that included several phrases that don’t need to be recorded here. Joe did nothing to stop the tie raid unfortunately. I listened to this for a few minutes and just put my hand up once three of them had joined in the conversation.
They all stopped and just looked at me after I put up my hand. That’s when I said “We all bleed red, so shut up.” Still, they kept staring at me. I turned to Joe and said “I thought you were better than this, obviously I was wrong.” I started to walk away at this point and just said, not directed to anyone, “Don’t worry, I won’t be coming by again or talking to any of you again.” I didn’t turn around after walking away to see any of the reactions, but the conversation started up as I turned down the hall.
That was the last day I spoke to Joe directly. It took me a few days to understand what had happened and I became angry. I couldn’t get past the fact that our skin color defines how we interact with the people around us. I recently finished watching Falling Skies and there was a profound statement at the end after we had defeated the alien invasion forces. “We’re not alone anymore. There isn’t any black, white, yellow or brown anymore. We’re all human beings living on Earth.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was a fictional show, about aliens, that managed to sum up what I believe the majority of people already think.
Our news is filtered
Watching the news is something I don’t do anymore. I realized a while ago several things that I didn’t like about the news in the United States:
- It’s filtered
- Every broadcast ends with a happy/humanitarian piece
- World news doesn’t include the world majority of the time
News stations know this already of course. If the story is too radical or heinous, it is never reported on. War coverage was probably the most ridiculous of all in that what is really happening is no where near what is reported as happening. I’ve seen documentaries on past wars, unfiltered and raw, that ripped at my gut as I watched. I *know* current wars are the same, yet no one ever sees that.
The coverage on #BlackLivesMatter is just as ridiculous. I won’t go into a tie raid about it as that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. When you see videos urging people into action to cause violence against police under the guise of #BlackLivesMatter, then take action, you in turn are contributing to the problem that created the movement in the first place. Human beings have an instinct to protect themselves that is race blind. It’s a flight or fight response that no one has any control over. Having a weapon in hand that can determine whether you live or die, it’s no surprise that these things are happening.
There are some that will say that #BlackLivesMatter is racist. There are some that will say that #AllLivesMatter is racist. I call bullshit to both of them. The true movement here is, and should always be, #HumanLivesMatter. It doesn’t take a huge effort to treat others with respect and dignity. I’ll admit that in a society that is pushing 7 billion world wide, there are going to be some truly disturbed individuals. If society was more willing to truly treat others as you want to be treated, those unsavory individuals would stick out like a rice kernel in a salt shaker.
We all bleed red, so shut up.