By Leslie Gaar of www.pailsandfires.com
We can do it, you know. It’s not an ‘either/or,’ but rather an ‘and.’ We can support the Black Lives Matter movement and the men and women who work every day to keep our cities safe. Contrary to what you may be hearing, these are not mutually exclusive prospects.
Saying that black lives matter does not mean those are the only lives of value. It just acknowledges the inescapable fact that black people in our country are being targeted, brutalized, and killed by some members of the police force.
Did you catch that? Some.
Not all police are doing this – we know that. Some are. But just because it’s some and not all doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist. And it’s our choice to decide whether we confront that problem, working together as a society to acknowledge and fix it, or turn away from our brothers and sisters.
We can do it. We can hear their pain and grieve with them and demand justice for what we know is wrong. And we can do it with the families of the slain police officers, too. We can hear their pain and grieve with them and demand justice for what we know is wrong. We can do it because we understand that suffering is suffering and wrong is wrong and yet the world is drawn with shades of gray. We know that no one group fits neatly into the boxes we would assign them.
It can be hard to see things from another’s point of view, but we can do it. It is easier to believe the black and white story than to sort through the jumble of emotions that is life, but we can do it. Falling into an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality is hard to escape, but we can do it.
Black Lives Matter didn’t kill those police in Dallas – hatred did. Police didn’t kill those men in Louisiana and Minnesota before that – hatred did. And the desire for both groups’ suffering to be seen and heard and addressed does not equate to the tearing down of the other. It doesn’t have to anyway.
We can work together to bring about justice for all ― for ALL ― and we can take sides when we do it. Not the side of us vs. them, but of us vs. hatred.
Us vs. racism.
Us vs. violence.
Us vs. injustice.
It won’t be easy – it never is – but we can do it. We have to do it.
About the Author
Leslie Gaar is a mom of three, former educator, current writer, and perpetual smart ass. Mostly the last one. She blogs at www.pailsandfires.com, and has been featured in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, and Babble. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.