Stating the obvious: Black Lives Matter

The news seems never to be cheering. Watching the US news (mostly vicariously, through my friends who post links) from the UK, I sometimes wonder whether these things are really happening. A white kids shoots nine good people in a black church? I know it happened: the President’s rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ made it across the Atlantic. Black churches were burning, one after the other, and I wondered which decade I was in–which century, even. A young black woman with a beautiful smile makes a police officer angry–and the rest is all over social media and way too sad to recount.

Today, I came across this, which once again made me wonder whether I was still in the year 2015–a blog post in which the author describes common misconceptions about slavery. Some of the things people said would be laughable, if they didn’t contribute to all the horrible things I have been reading about on the news. Owning other people is just wrong, and when you think you own people, you don’t treat them as people. That just doesn’t seem difficult to grasp. That wrong persists every time a black person is insulted, slighted, or ignored, much less beaten or killed, because of his/her race. I know I am not saying anything here that isn’t blindingly obvious.

I feel a little as if I am living in a Dr Seuss story–Horton Hears a Who. You know the one. Horton the Elephant is trying to convince a kangaroo and some gorillas (I think) that there are people alive on a speck of dust. All the whos in Who-ville are out making a noise, trying to be heard and thereby saved. All except that one kid, bouncing his yo-yo in a corner somewhere. He doesn’t have anything much to say; still, he must add his voice to the others’ in order for them to be heard. “Yopp!” he says–not even a real word, but it does the trick. Following the “yopp,” all the cries of “We are here! We are here! We are here!” come through clearly. 

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter.

It’s time to put down the yo-yo and speak up.

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