Without ambiguity: Black Lives Matter
This isn’t a current events blog. It might be inspired by them, but I try to write something every day that’s worth reading in a month or a year.
And so, I choose to ignore the specifics of breaking news, because breaking news keeps changing.
Sometimes, though, ambiguity isn’t called for. Sometimes, it’s misunderstood. In my town and my city and my country, we’re coming to grips with issues that have been simmering for far too long. And you’ve certainly heard from people with clear and actionable things about what you can do right now, and about their commitment going forward. I don’t want to confuse anyone about my take on it.
Avoiding breaking news is a privilege that I have, because there’s insulation for me.
Black Lives Matter.
The systemic, cruel and depersonalizing history of Black subjugation in my county has and continues to be a crime against humanity. It’s based on a desire to maintain power and false assumptions about how the world works and how it can work. It’s been amplified by systems that were often put in place with mal-intent, or sometimes simply because they felt expedient. It’s painful to look at and far more painful to be part of or to admit that exists in the things that we build.
We can’t permit the murder of people because of the color of their skin. Institutional racism is real, it’s often invisible, and it’s pernicious.
And White Supremacy is a loaded term precisely because the systems and their terrible effects are very real, widespread and run deep.
The benefit of the doubt is powerful indeed, and that benefit has helped me and people like me for generations. I’m ashamed of how we got here, and want to more powerfully contribute and model how we can get better, together.
It doesn’t matter how many blog posts about justice I write, or how clear I try to be about the power of diversity in our organizations. Not if I’m leaving doubt about the scale and enormity of the suffering that people feel, not just themselves, but for their parents before them and for the kids that will follow them.
It’s easier to look away and to decide that this is a problem for someone else. It’s actually a problem for all of us. And problems have solutions and problems are uncomfortable.