What would the world look/feel/be like if black lives TRULY mattered?
This was a question posed on social media by my friend CJ after it had been posed to him at a Black Lives Matter rally. Being totally honest, I found this really confounding to visualize. So with my response below, I offer the same challenge to you. Let me know what you come up with.
For black lives to truly matter on earth, there is an implicit need for the mistreatment from white people – both subtle and overt, particular and systemic, past and present – to be universally uncovered, acknowledged, and accepted as true, without doubt or condition, by everyone within that race of privileged people who have been universally bred to be unsympathetic to those who don’t share their skin color and to presume no risk to their lack of humanity.
That’s pretty heavy. But there’s more…
The aforementioned revelation would have to followed by sincere and tireless and universal efforts at rectification – to reverse the miseducation, the misappropriation, the misrepresentation, the misjudgment, the mistreatment and the extrajudicial slaughter wrought over the course of centuries via enslavement, disenfranchisement, segregation, incarceration, gentrification, racial profiling, etc. Only then could we begin to hope for something resembling reconciliation.
It’s a task for centuries. If not for millennia.
But for starters, I think there’s a powerful clue in the statement that #blacklivesmatter and in our willingness to perpetually insist on it for ourselves and for others. I think the Buddha would love that statement because inherent in those three words is a truth that as long as black lives don’t matter, ALL LIVES WON’T MATTER.
Concurrent to this urgent social crisis, we have urgent geopolitical and environmental crises that are nudging us to a similar truth: that as long as poor lives, homeless lives, indigenous lives, migrant lives, Muslim lives, animal lives, bird lives, fish lives and insect lives don’t matter, ALL LIVES WON’T MATTER.
It’s a clarion call to individuals of every skin tone, for our own sakes, to turn the wheel of dharma. To begin to lift the veil of separation to see, as the Vedas indicate, that beyond name and form, there is one existence, one consciousness, shared by all.
What would the world look/feel/be like if black lives TRULY mattered? Like one Life peering out from behind every set of eyes and seeing only itself, after all.
© 2016 Dave Getzschman Feel free to share on social media but please ask for permission to reprint in full or in part