What lives matter?
“Black Lives Matter!”
“All Lives Matter!”
“Police Lives Matter!”
While each of those, and probably many others, have been making the rounds it seems to me the answer to the question is clear – all lives matter – but there are some important points that should be considered.
I have absolutely zero doubt that I could walk outside and take a baseball bat to one (or probably both) of my car’s taillights and drive around San Antonio until my next inspection date rolls around (next April) without getting pulled over, much less fearing for my life if I did. But, were I to let an 18 year old Hispanic student of mine use my car in that condition so he could get to work I doubt he would successfully navigate the 10 miles without seeing blue lights in the rear view mirror.
As a middle-aged white male, I have never known discrimination directed toward me. As a middle-aged white male that teaches high school math in San Antonio, I constantly worry about my legitimacy in trying to be a role-model for my kids. That’s the primary reason I am so honest with my classes about what goes on in my life and why I don’t put on some kind of show for them. I will never know the kind of struggles they will face: the stares directed at a young Muslim lady wearing a hijab as she walks home from school; the cursory glance at a resume or job application just because the last name at the top is Hernandez or Ytuarte or Quijas; the way some will cross the street just because they see a young black man walking toward them on their side of the sidewalk. If you think that doesn’t happen, come and talk to my kids one day this fall. Each of them has to overcome something that they are – and that has no place in humanity.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that violence isn’t it. Peaceful demonstrations are important and necessary, but if that turns into a riot where people and property gets damaged that only demeans the message that the initial purpose was meant to support. Further, violence as an answer only foments additional mistrust and deepens the divide that already exists. Prayer is also not going to be the magic wand (my thoughts on that can be found here: https://edreformblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/not-praying/).
So how can we at least begin moving forward? How about some honest compromise on sensible gun ownership legislation? How about some honest conversation about having additional training programs and additional funding for our law enforcement, who have an impossibly difficult job in these times? How about discussing mental health as a real, concrete national concern instead of some kind of stigma that is pushed into the shadows? How about facing the fact that our differences in skin color or if we believe in god are not what should drive us apart, but is what should bring us together? How about understanding that human beings will disagree, but that can NOT prevent us from co-existing? How about coming to the conclusion that we do in fact live in a global society, and complaining about that in 2016 is like arguing about who left the barn door open the morning after the horses ran away?
How about getting back to real definition of compromise and an honest empathy for each other?
I wish each of you peace and calm.