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Letter to the Editor: I Support the Black Lives Matter Movement, But Not The 'Us vs Them' Mentality

"I was hesitant to write this out of fear of retaliation and anger but I decided it was necessary to say."
Black Lives Matter

We are committed to publishing a wide variety of opinions on The Daily Banter and will publish letters to the Editor if they are well substantiated and written concisely. The views expressed in reader letters do no necessarily reflect our own editorial position.

To the Editor:

I was hesitant to write this out of fear of retaliation and anger but I decided it was necessary to say. I am a white male in America. I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement is important and necessary. I do not believe that Black Lives Matter is a threat to other races or requires a need to say All Lives Matter. One is not a threat to the other but rather is to point out that there is a particular problem for Black Americans in this day and age. 

The recent police shootings have been horrific and unacceptable no matter what the person’s background (i.e. race, religion, past convictions). I have many black friends who now fear for the lives of their children and fear that they could leave their children orphaned because they are black (rarely do they worry about their own lives because they have already grown up with this fear as a part of their everyday life and gotten used to it). They are not wrong to have this fear. But I have also seen an emerging trend which scares me. Rather than using this as an issue to bring together those who want to put an end to violence against Black Americans, it is being used to create an “us” vs “them “ scenario.

Today, I was happy to see so many of my friends offering support and words of love for their fellow Americans. However, I was also disturbed to see statements like, “If you are a person of color and are upset, come to BLANK and I will comfort you and talk to you. I will be there all day.” My concern with this statement is that it specifies only people of color. Now before you get upset about that concern, let me clarify. This is a threat to Black Americans but everyone should be upset and gather to make a change. Together we are much stronger than divided. Black Lives Matter and the many other groups that have arisen from this awareness of violence against Black Americans should not be exclusively for Black Americans. It is Black Lives Matter, not Black Lives Matter to Black People. This problem needs to be confronted by all Americans, regardless of skin color. There needs to be recognition that Black Americans are being targeted and that the mere fact that they are black is immediately putting them in greater danger in our country. I have personally gone to support protesters and join gatherings to discuss this issue and have been asked to leave on multiple occasions for being white, sometimes with shouting, sometimes with threats. I can understand the anger and the frustration but now is the worst time to say that only persons of color are allowed to gather and be upset. I don’t care what the color of your skin is, what is happening is wrong.

Now is the time that we as Americans need to stand up as one and say something is wrong and something needs to be done. Two voices are better than one. It was not the Million Black Man March, it was the Million Man March. If we continue to make this an issue of white vs black, we will only further force a delineation between these two groups that should not exist in the first place. Black lives matter and are in far greater danger in the US then white lives. This is a true statement regardless of your race or gender. This should be a unifying issue for all Americans, not an issue which is separated purely by race. I want to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends in anger and frustration to help change this country for the better.

None of this is to say that people shouldn’t angry, they should. None of this is to say that Black Americans in particular should not be angry, they should. But this is not just an issue that should be confronted by Black Americans. This is an issue which needs to be confronted by all Americans. And to that end I say that if you aren’t upset by what is happening, you should be, regardless of your skin color. And if you think that only black individuals should be upset, then you are allowing those racist individuals to say that is a problem for the black community, not a problem for America. We need to stop dividing ourselves by race and start coming together as human beings to say that no race should ever be treated like this because of the long standing racist and prejudicial biases and fears which still exist America. I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement is important and needed and I believe that all Americans need to use this as a uniting issue, not a dividing one. So comfort your fellow man, woman, and child. Share in their anger, hurt, frustration, and love. Stand with them and protect them against the evils of this world as you would hope they would do for you. And make it about the issue you are fighting, not about the color of your own skin.