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  • Writer's pictureJenny Penland

Black Lives Matter ‣ Decolonize your mind.

Since the George Floyd protests begun, I’ve seen A LOT of the same old “all lives matter” rhetoric again - and if you’re saying that or even thinking that, I want you to understand something...

It’s not oxymoronic or racist to recognize that white people are the ones suppressing (and wrongfully convicting, and beating, and murdering) people of color. There simply is not a widespread issue of spanish cops or black cops or asian cops using unnecessary force. The amount of unarmed black people killed by police brutality is grossly disproportionate and the murders are again, disproportionately committed by white cops. This fact may make you feel uncomfortable/singled out/targeted - but what that shows me is that your identity is tied more to being white than to the other qualifiers of your personhood. Which, to be clear, is incredibly ironic and totally at odds with your whole “all lives matter” shtick. In the present situation, if you’re able to recognize that you are: not a murderer, not a racist, not a violent cop, etc.. then you should be able to recognize that the protest isn’t “against ‘you’.”

We could use any crime statistic to illustrate this. Consider: Most children who are raped are females and most are raped by a relative or family friend.

What, if anything, was your initial emotional response to that?

Now consider that you obviously are a relative and/or family friend to someone. Probably someone who is a parent to a young girl...

Think back to your immediate reaction. Did you tie yourself so strongly to being a relative and family friend that you felt you must come in hot with the “BUT NOT ALL RELATIVES AND FAMILY FRIENDS” rhetoric? Do you feel compelled to convince me that you’re not a rapist because you have one or a few or a bunch of young, female friends that you haven’t raped? Does my telling you that statistic make you feel like I’m calling you a rapist, simply because you are a relative or a friend to a young girl?

....Or do you understand how ridiculous that is - and how ridiculous it would be to blindly defend all “friends and relatives” at the detriment of the vulnerable population?

To me, when I hear that fact, all I can think about are the young female children I know and think about how I can help protect them. I feel in no way threatened by the statistic because I know I’m not part of that problem. I also know I want to be part of the solution. I also know that if I see warning signs and fail to act, that I am culpable by way of my complicity. I wouldn’t fail to report, speak out or testify against someone because it was uncomfortable for me.

And so, in that same line of thought, if I were to come to you and say: “We really need to do what whatever we can do to protect these little girls,” Would you argue with me and say, well boys and adults are also raped sometimes, too! They matter too!

No. Because you understand I’m not saying they don’t. I’m saying there is a major issue here. I’m saying there is a uniquely vulnerable population and they need us. They need us to do everything we can to be vigilant and to protect them.

This is the exact same thing. It’s that simple.

#blacklivesmatter #alllivescantmatteruntilblacklivesmatter #sayhisname #sayhername

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