America is a raw nerve right now. We’ve not yet fully healed from Covid-19 and the nation is erupting in riots and protests. Anger and fear are taking center stage, just look at the news. George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe”, are being used to launch a movement for equality and justice. But, don’t “All lives matter” is the rebuttal.
If you are still reading this blog then I appreciate your willingness to think about a topic that may make you uncomfortable; even if we disagree. No change will ever come without first exploring personal opinions and biases.
The incident that sparked outrage across America is that of George Floyd, who died unnecessarily at the hands of a white officer that pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while 3 other officers did nothing. Floyd was heard begging for his life before he became unresponsive. It was captured on video by several people. The news picked up the story. It still took 4 days for the officer to be arrested. The remaining 3 just recently got charged.
This level of police brutality is not an isolated incidence in the African American community. Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police when unarmed than white men. It just so happened that this time it was filmed.
“All lives matter though”, don’t they? Of course they do. No one is saying that all lives don’t matter. But, right now, “all lives” are not in jeopardy when they are going about their daily routine. Think about Ahmaud Arbery. This man was just out jogging when he was hunted down and murdered by 2 men who weren’t even brought up on charges (wasn’t a crime, according to prosecutors) until months later.
To explain the black lives matter in simple terms, think about it like this: a house is on fire. The fire department arrives to put out the fire. No one is offended, blocking the fire truck while shouting “All houses matter”. There is clearly an urgent need to help the house that is burning. It doesn’t mean the other houses are not important. They are just not in imminent danger.
This is clearly not the normal blog, so where am I going with it. I guess, I am asking our readers to be compassionate for a cause they may not fully understand. Listen to what people are saying without immediately getting defensive. Think about your own beliefs and how they affect your views on racial and cultural differences. Challenge yourself – this won’t be comfortable but change never is. Don’t lose hope. We are all human and in all this chaos, really beautiful, really human moments have happened. We can be better. We will be better.
Brooke Rieth FNP