Yesterday, I watched the social media black out in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement. I added my own black square to my Instagram page, and scrolled through post after post of my fellow writers who, for once, had nothing to say. Yesterday, we sat back and listened.
And I also saw the objections to this movement. Counter arguments from people who held up their hands in confusion, with the rebuttal, “Well, all lives matter, don’t they?” The thing is, the fact that all lives matter goes without saying. The fact that we should all be considered equal goes without saying. By supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, we are not saying that we believe that all cops are corrupt. We are not saying that looting and criminal damage is suddenly perfectly acceptable. We are not saying that black people matter more than others. We are not saying that injustices don’t happen to people of all colour. We are saying that this week, in a response to an atrocious murder, we wish to lend our voice and our acknowledgement to the fact that something is very, very wrong. And that we are proud to shout from the rooftops that we will not tolerate it.
There are other things that go without saying. As a white, British woman, I was taught that if I am ever in trouble and I see a police officer, I should run towards them because they will be my salvation. I only learned in later life that there are people in parts of America who are taught from a young age that if they are in trouble and they see a cop car, they should run in the other direction. That taking their chances with their original attacker might be a safer option than seeking assistance from the people who are paid to protect and serve them. It goes without saying that this is not okay.
If I borrowed a PS4 from a friend, I would think nothing of walking down the street with it in my arms. Because it goes without saying that nobody would assume I had stolen it. It goes without saying that I would not be running the risk of being shot at or arrested without being able to explain that I was borrowing it. Nobody would even ask. And, if they did, I would be listened to. I would be heard.
If I accidentally locked myself out of my house and found an open side window, it goes without saying that if I could hop up and climb in through it I would. It goes without saying that I can do that without fear of being shot.
Statistics clearly show that black people are being killed or seriously injured while they go about their daily lives. By police who are abusing their power and failing to follow set protocols. This is a fact. And, as we have seen in the case of Derek Chauvin, the police who harm these innocent men, women, and children, are not being punished, allowing them to continue to act with reckless abuse of their power. For me, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement this week is about saying that something has to change. That we need to ensure that instances of police brutality stop being the norm, and that perpetrators are punished, not protected.
It goes without saying that we should all want this for the world we live in. Because, right now, it isn’t fair.
And it isn’t right.
That goes without saying.
You can donate and help the Black Lives Matter cause here