#CupOfJoBruno Brew on Black Lives Matter in a White Oppressed System

Black Lives Matter! It matters as a statement, a movement, and an important time in Black American History. It matters to all kinds of system change and our new reality of life. But it seems hard for a lot of people to truly comprehend what’s going on. White folks think we are blaming them for something? What’s the blame? Can you explain that? What do you feel guilty of, white people? Why so angry? So aggressive. It’s disturbing. I don’t understand. You tell me “they” need to “act right” but what does “right” even mean? Is your way the “right way?” Probably not for many people. Folks say they’re “tired of seeing and hearing about all the BLM stuff.” I really don’t get it. Now, let’s pause for a second. I am a white woman. I am a white ally to Black lives in America. I have been given the responsibility to speak up, raise the voice of Black communities, and to carry the weight of the oppressed with me as I continue this journey of a #CupOfJoBruno. Much like Johnny Cash, I’ll always wear black for the oppressed and for those who don’t have a voice. It’s part of my purpose and I’ve accepted it.

So ok. Back to Black Lives Matter(ing). Your actual life matters, of course. But for just a second. Take away your typical views of a white person and think about this. YOU don’t matter to the system. You are just a number like everyone else. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel outraged? Because it should. You really don’t matter. Your living, breathing sentient life is the most important thing in this world! That is never in question. But to the system, you don’t matter too much. Even in your privilege you don’t actually matter. Your livelihoods don’t matter. You just get away with a lot more shit. And, you don’t even know it. That’s sad. Really sad. We aren’t telling you that you’ve done something wrong, we are trying to show you that you do matter. We’re trying to teach you that in your argument of all lives mattering, you’ve forgotten to add yourself into that category. You’ve forgotten all the lives of children who are in camps, ripped from their parents.

Let’s see here. The point behind “no Lives matter until Black Lives matter” is just a simple reminder that you are a number to the system like people of color have always been. It isn’t to ever discount you for anything, but rather to raise you in existence. You’re unaware of your oppression, and you’re also unaware of your privilege. It’s a dangerous mixture of misinformation and ignorance. You have a privilege of not experiencing oppression in your everyday lives.  It’s in your backyard right now and it seems like you’re scared. Are you scared? Of what? I mean, you got Fox News telling you that black folks are going to come into your precious little suburb neighborhoods and tear down your homes. Do you honestly believe that’s going to happen? Why? Why are you so scared? Do you realize that most of your neighbors are probably people of color or close allys of people of color? They’re already LIVING in your suburbs. The “they” you’re so clearly scared of are your neighbors. And, ok. I get it, you’re uncomfortable. It’s going to be ok though. Trust us. Please. 

In all due respect, you’re able to get away with breaking basic laws, simply because of the color of your skin. Did you know that? Don’t get mad at that. Don’t get mad at me for telling you that. Don’t even get mad at yourself for being white once you realize what I mean. It’s the privilege folks keep reminding you of. Please stop getting so mad about it. Take time to understand your privilege so you can make better choices for our future. Further, you don’t have to fear the police on an everyday basis. You have the privilege to call them to “protect” you from Black folks. You even call them against the same neighbors I just mentioned; you know, the people of color who have moved into your suburb. Majority of the times, they’re your neighbor, folks. It’s strange really. Did you know the first police department was created specifically to chase down run-away slaves? Maybe you didn’t know that. Boston, folks. Know your history and defund those establishments.  Put that money toward the Black communities and learn something from them. Also, in no way is being a cop justification for blue lives mattering. “Blue Lives” is a job; it’s work they’re paid for. Black lives are lives in which are of Black people. I don’t get it, folks. But there’s another establishment that could be considered a form of a first police department, but they’re what we see now as security officers. There’s a clear distinction between White American and Cops and Black America and Security officers. Back when these two establishments were created, Security Officers protected property and goods while cops hunted and killed run-away slaves. This is simple education, folks. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t know this stuff in 2020.

In any mixture of white communities, you don’t ever have to explain to your kids how to speak “properly” in certain circles. You don’t have to lessen your culture to fit in or be judged because of it.  Your ambition, passion and dreams are all ok but theirs isn’t. Why is that? To have a passionate, well-spoken, educated Black woman as vice president scares you. Why? Lord knows what you’ll do when a Black woman is president. I mean damn! What the hell? Even when white folks had that high, ratted-out 80s wave, we were never told to change our hair style for any reason. Even if the child behind us couldn’t see the chalk board. Stop it already! These things aren’t to blame you for anything, they’re just things you need to be aware of as we continue changing shit in this country. Don’t be mad, please. I guarantee you; black folks are at the leadership table, twisting their hair, talking “their way.” Accept it. You won’t have a choice come real soon. We’re not telling you what to do or forcing you to do something unlawful. We’re asking you to accept Black America in its entirely as an honored culture. But it seems that in and of itself is unlawful to you and your sensitivities.

As a living, breathing sentient human being, you matter. You matter, equally important to Black lives. Right? I mean, if all lives did matter like you say, do you believe you matter to the system? In what concept do you matter? What perspective? In which way do you matter? As the human species who learn and grow as individuals, we have the right to live and love in our lives. Shit, we as humans even have the right to do damage to property, pull down a statue, or burn an establishment down. Whatever! Consequences. What you don’t have the right to do anymore is dismiss the sorrow of real-life, American oppression. Of course, we all have the right to matter to the universal message of life. But to the system, that doesn’t matter. Your dreams, ambitions and goals don’t matter. At least not to the system they don’t. The actual earth itself, that we need to survive, doesn’t matter to the system. Why should you?

So again, how do you matter to the system? Do you see how you are sheep? You follow what you’ve been fed without question. You blindly believe what you are systematically told to believe. But is it true? What is truth? Have you heard the other two versions of the truth you’ve been fed? Can you make a well-rounded decision based on your personal lived-experience truth, their personal lived-experience truth, and the systematic oppression truth? Are you capable to hear another truth that might challenge your truth? Yes, your life and all your lived experience is very important. Your history is important. But the stories and lived experiences of Black folks are too, right? RIGHT?! Black history is important too, right? It doesn’t dismiss your story at all. If anything, it might make your history a bit more accurate. More fulfilling. Go ahead, try it for once. Learn another truth even if it breaks your truth in half. Or thirds.

History was written with you, white people, in mind. History was created by what your people thought was right. So, we are just trying to share a different side of history. Another lived-experience, peer story. A story that was hidden and kept secret because the founding fathers of America thought Black people were less than. Black lives didn’t matter at all when they created the declaration. In fact, they were considered cattle and property. When the signatures were made for all men created equal, black men, and all women, were not in that category. You know this, right? Women finally matter to the system. Well, some systems. We still can’t choose to abort a forced pregnancy in some states. Our bodies are ours alone, because women matter. But to the system we are just a number to control. We really don’t matter. Just like you. To the system you don’t matter. None of us matter. To the privileged system, those who were once considered less than, Jews are now counted as white to the census. But there is still living flesh with tattooed tracing numbers on it. Afghan Muslims are also considered white to the system, but you’ll never forget that one brown-skinned person from the 9/11 stories, factual or not. To the system we are all just a number. Even you.

But Black lives? Now! Here’s the thing. Black lives aren’t only a number to a much larger system, but the lived-experience of Black lives matter when we discuss the oppression of the American system you’ve had the privilege of living in. Black lives matter when we discuss public health. They matter when we change public policy, prison reform, and police brutality. And, most impressively, Black lives matter for cultivation of land, community, family, and health. Y’all will need Black lives to function in the next realty you’ll be living in. You will eventually understand why you don’t matter to the system. And when you understand why Black lives matter first and foremost in America, you’re going to understand why you matter too. You will see how you’ve been herded into a system that does not work for you. I mean really, it’s a system that’s never worked for anyone, honestly. Except elite white men, of course. Who matter, too. I guess.