Black Lives Matter, But More Importantly…
Recently, the chant of black people in response to the unwarranted, unjustified and downright unacceptable deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of unlawful officers have become “Black Lives Matter.” We’ve seen the handwritten signage adorned by hands of different colors all across this country and abroad. We’ve heard the chant turn into a roar and the roar into a rant. It’s a proclamation of sorts, “Black Lives Matter.” Which they do. But I challenge us to make a change to that statement which would ultimately change who we are and who people perceive us to be.
Black lives matter, but more importantly, black “life” matters. Now before you nonchalantly attempt to dismiss my suggestive statement as if it means the same thing or that it’s so miniscule of a change that it doesn’t mean anything different at all, consider what I’m saying. Black “Life” Matters. Repeat it again, Black “Life” Matters. And yet again, Black “Life” Matters.
Black lives matter is completely different from black life matters and it provokes a different sense of responsibility. Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear “black lives matter” it sounds as if we’re trying to convince others that we should matter to them. And if we mattered to them, they’d be more thoughtful, considerate and conscious of their approach, dealings and interactions with us. They’d see us in a different perspective, a different light. “Black Lives Matter” sounds like a demonstrative response to actions by others who have denigrated the lives of black people, most of whom we don’t even know personally. The onus is purposely and intentionally shifted to someone other than who the focus should be on. “Black Lives Matter” encompasses a lot, but nothing at the same time, because it’s a broad statement with no specificity or clear inclination on exactly whose life matters. Are we only referring to the lives that’s been lost at the hands of rogue police officers? Are we talking about the lives cut short by the hands of other black people? Are we also talking about the children we abort?
If “Black Life Matters” then that would incorporate all black people, our culture, our past, present and future, our ancestors, the preservation of our history, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools, our children, our elders, our incarcerated brothers and sisters, our people victimized by societal ills, the sick, the forgotten, “unborn” embryos, all black life, starting with one, your very own. That would allow us to address our critical issues from an individualistic, but ultimately, cohesive perspective.
You see, as my Pastor PM Smith always says, “you change the world one mind, one heart, one life, one home, one community and one nation at a time.” It’s way more deep than just the plurality and singular usage of the word when it comes to Black “Lives” Matter versus Black “Life” Matters. It’s much deeper than just a slogan or a soundbite or even a trademark that one can screen-print onto tee shirts and make a profit from selling to the people who are supposed to matter. Black “Life” Matters is an affirmation that requires you to act as if you believe it to be true. Black “Life” Matters is a personal statement and testament. And once we start to believe and exhibit truly that Black “Life” Matters we will no longer have to spend countless hours trying to convince others that our lives are valuable. #blacklifematters