To the Editor:
The letter in the July 23 News and Citizen titled “All lives matter, not just Black lives” represents what I see as an often willful misunderstanding of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
To recognize the institutional nature of discrimination against people of color in this country, to name it and publicly reject it, does not promote “the idea that all life doesn’t matter.”
“All lives matter” is a contrived equivalency designed to deflect from the issue. White people can live secure in the knowledge that white lives have always mattered in our society.
The point here is that, finally, there is a national uprising demanding an end to racism. This is frightening to many. Not because, as is inaccurately reported in the July 23 letter, the protests have killed “a lot of others,” although certainly the chaotic deployment of Homeland Security forces has wreaked havoc on peaceful, legal protesters, but because it means the institution of white privilege in this country might have to change.
The letter also extolls “the free exercise of one’s religious faith.” We are encouraged to attend church on Sunday. Does that freedom extend to Jews attending synagogue, Muslims attending mosque, Buddhists sitting in meditation, Wiccans celebrating the seasons, and atheists being free to believe as they wish? It should, if all religions really matter.
If all lives truly matter, we shouldn’t have to be afraid to proclaim that Black Lives Matter.