Love Makes a Bridge: Why Black Lives Matter (And not “All Lives Matter”)

Thanks to Steve Babb for sending in this collection of considerations.  As I reflect on them, I consider them as a way of building bridges–into my own consciousness and conscience and into the reality of fellow Americans about whom I remain ignorant.  I invite you to use them for such personal reflection and bridge building.

Bob Patrick

  • Because no one in a position of power in this country’s history has ever systematically questioned whether white lives matter.
  • Because the statement “All lives matter” is so innocuous as to be meaningless and distracts us from the urgent need to confront the specific and especially lethal brand of injustice that is being visited upon our African American brothers and sisters.
  • Because white racism towards African Americans is the seminal fatal flaw of our country, continues to the current day, and has never been fully acknowledged and addressed.
  • As an example, almost 600 lynchings of African Americans occurred in Georgia, but only one lynching site is commemorated by a historical marker, and no one has been convicted or accepted responsibility for these lynchings to these days, despite many lynchings having been committed before large crowds.
  • As another example, it took South Carolina and Alabama until 1998 and 2000, respectively, to amend their constitutions to remove provisions making interracial marriages illegal. In both cases, about 40% of voters in these referendums voted to retain the prohibition on interracial marriage.
  • Because African Americans are uniquely discriminated against and their lives are uniquely endangered.
  • Because young African American men are uniquely at risk of death every time they encounter the police.
  • Because the cards are still uniquely stacked against African Americans in this society, and they continue to be uniquely disadvantaged by past and present social, economic, and legal discrimination.
  • Because institutional racism and entrenched white privilege are in a far greater position to do harm to African Americans than African Americans are to do harm to white Americans.
  • Because it’s high time for whites to acknowledge and show solidarity with the indignities, fear, and pain that our African American sisters and brothers experience on a daily basis.
  • Because we will never fulfill this country’s founding principles and become whole as a society until we face up to and address our racism and the toll that it continues to take on African Americans, and on all of us.
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