My great grandfather was an immigrant from Mexico, and my great grandmother was a Cherokee medicine woman, both of these aspects of my heritage show in how I look. I have the dark Hispanic hair color and eye color, and a Native American skin tone. When I was younger I often suffered the racist comments of classmates that labeled me Mexican and therefore unworthy of companionship, friendship, or even being alive. My family moved to a small town during the end of my 7th grade year, and because of my coloration I was called nearly every racial slur you could think in reference to people from Mexico.
It was degrading and dehumanizing, I wasn’t a person to my fellow classmates, I was a thing. I know what it is like to suffer from racism, and I’ve even gotten in fights with my father for using the “N-word” when referring to people of darker skin color. When people ask me my race I will always answer HUMAN. We are ONE race of people. Black, white, red, yellow, brown, these are colors, they are labels, they aren’t what or who we are.
When I first heard about the Black Lives Matter movement, I thought it had the capability of becoming something great, something akin to the movement that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started in the 1960s before my time. It wasn’t until I was called racist for using the hashtag #AllLivesMatter in conjunction with #BlackLivesMatter that I really started paying attention to what the Black Lives Matter Movement was really about.
It wasn’t about peace, equality, understanding and working together to put into place programs, ideas, and laws that lessen the struggle of those that consider themselves to be black. To me, it seems like the opposite, it appears to be an extremist movement that is out of control and feeds the fear, upset, discrimination, segregation, and hatred that is currently fueling the fires of racial tensions in the United States. You cannot believe that black lives matter if you believe: all lives matter, Native American lives matter, Latino/Latina lives matter, Trans lives matter, LGBT lives matter, minority lives matter, etc. Stating that other lives matter automatically declares you a racist in the eyes of many BLMM supporters, and that is a huge part of the problem.
Recently there was a shooting in Texas that ended the lives of several police officers as well as the shooter; a mass murder that was fueled by the upset, chaos and anger of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The suspect himself admitted that he was upset about BLMM and about the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. He also stated that he was upset at white people and wanted to kill them especially white officers.
Is this what working towards equality is coming to? This is not how you work with others in your community for the better of everyone. The police response was just as deplorable as the act of the mass shooting itself. Vigilante justice is no justice and those involved with the decision to bomb Micah Johnson should be held accountable for their actions. The police that shoot, kill, assault, or otherwise unnecessarily harm suspects, no matter the color of their skin, need to be held accountable for their actions as well. However, rioting and killing one another is not going to accomplish this goal, nor is marching in the dead of night with your face and head covered like you are ashamed of what you are doing.
We need to stop, take a moment to assess the situation at hand and come together as a nation of people to solve the issue and work towards goals to meet that solution. Skin tone or police affiliation does not make someone a good or bad person, the sooner we realize that the sooner we are ready to take the first step in healing the divide in this country that years of indoctrination has created.
We need to stop teaching our youth to hate and fear, stop letting our public servants get away with crime and hold people accountable for their own actions no matter how rich they are, or what color their skin tone is.
We need to stop segregating ourselves and come together as one people, but this isn’t going to happen unless we stop letting fear, ignorance, hatred and contempt rule our thinking. There are children that are growing up that are being taught to hate the police because they are police. There are children growing up that are being taught to hate and mistrust other people because they are black. There are children growing up that are being taught not to think for themselves, just to go with the flow and ignore the injustices around them. These children grow into adults and continue the cycle of teaching intolerance and hatred.
It is this cycle that we must break.
If we are going to march against these injustices let us do so in daylight so that everyone can see our solidarity and hear our voices rise together as one.
Let us not scream only one kind of life matters, but realize that each and every one of our lives matter and that we will come together as brothers and sisters to protect and care for each other.
Let us not destroy the lives or property that others have worked so hard for during their own life, but instead let us build each other up and stop the foolish selfishness of looting during the chaos of rioting.
Let us work together for peace, because there is already enough suffering.