Updated date:

All Lives Matter Because Black Lives Matter

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Riot gear looks like all-out war.

Riot gear looks like all-out war.

Calling Out Racists

If you think that as a white woman, I am going to lend my voice to the racist crowd who are trying to negate the Black Lives Matter movement by saying “all lives matter,” then you are mistaken. The truth is that all lives matter, of course. But in this country and around the world it is the black lives that are being disproportionately marginalized, passed over, mistreated, and killed, often at the hands of the very police and people who have sworn to “serve and protect.” If white America doesn’t get off of their collective inactivity and do something to help, this kind of media storm will continue over and over again, recycling until the planet burns up or Jesus comes back to set things right.

I would say the time has come to have a reckoning. Do we really have the racist blinders on so firmly that we are going to refuse to see that it is the black people who are twice as likely to be incarcerated, twice as likely to be denied medical help, twice as likely to be killed in the street as white people? If you want so good information, read the excellent article in Harpers Bazaar about it.

There's a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality.

— Colin Kaepernick

all-lives-matter-because-black-lives-matter

The Difference

When I drive down the street and am pulled over for a tail light out of something equally insignificant, I don’t worry that I will be dragged from my car, body-slammed to the pavement, and put into a choke-hold. Black women do. I don’t think “will he rape me?” Black women do. When I am pulled over and I turn to reach for my wallet to find my driver’s license, I don’t fear for a moment that the police officer will whip out his firearm and shoot me dead. Black people do. When confronted by police in the wrong place at the wrong time, if I put my hands up I am assured that I am safe. Black people are not. If I should be taken to jail, I am pretty confident even if I have committed some heinous act, I will be treated with respect and some dignity. Black people are not. If I go to jail, I don’t fear that I may never come out. Black people do. In jail, I don’t think that officers will kill me. Black people do. In jail, I am pretty confident that the constitution will ensure I get to see a judge in a reasonable time and be heard. Black people do not.

Not the Norm

You may think that what happened to George Floyd at the hands of those who swore to serve and protect was an unusual case, not the norm. To Black people, it was just a Monday. To them, this kind of thing happens every day. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t been paying attention. I won’t say that you have your head in the sand but if I were you, I’d check for sand in my hair. My black daughter recently wrote: “I didn’t do anything wrong the day I was followed by an officer all around our quaint little town, or when I was interrogated after delivering newspapers (my job) for being in/leaving a nice apartment building at 5 am, or when I was threatened with being arrested when officers found out that I picked up a shovel to defend myself against a local meth-head (Caucasian) when she pulled a knife on me after I found her breaking into my home.”

Drawing of George Floyd

Drawing of George Floyd

Hardship and Degradation

If your ancestors were perhaps poor and sold themselves as indentured servants to come to this country, they were freed after 7 years of paying off the debt. Black people didn’t have that luxury. They were herded here like animals and cargo in the bottom of a boat against their will. They were summarily sold and worked till they died. When freed they were lynched by the KKK. When the protested and marched peacefully for their civil rights they were set upon by dogs and fire hoses. You cannot say they haven’t seen hardship or that they haven’t paid their dues. This isn’t just happening here either. This is happening all over the world. Black men are killed in the streets of London just as they are in Minnesota. In enlightened countries where high-sounding morals like the Rights of Men are spouted but not enforced for all men and women.

We're not anti-police... we're anti-police brutality.

— Al Sharpton

At Risk

Black Lives Matter is merely pointing out that a segment of the community is at risk. Is that so hard to understand? Does the term take away any rights, benefits, happiness, or health from white lives? Or are we so steeped in childish, kindergarten mentality that we cannot stand someone else to be in the spotlight even for a moment? I am sure that pointing out that all lives matter, is just a childish ploy to bring the focus away from the key issues that need and must be addressed. Where is your heart? Where is your compassion? Have the last few weeks and all the footage meant so little to you that your heart is not moved and you really don’t care? The body of America has a serious illness, a wound that has not healed in hundreds of years. The strong right arm of America is the black people but the other arm seems to me content to let it go gangrenous. If you have a pain you see a doctor. Why can’t we attend to the painful situation in the strong right arm of America? Is that too much to ask?

Sign posted by farmer's market manager.

Sign posted by farmer's market manager.

Decent Behavior

Recently, a local farmer’s market manager posted some handmade signs after hearing some racist comments at the market. She didn’t expect backlash but she got it. One white woman threatened to get her federal funding revoked. One white man stormed over and told her that her “politics” had no place at the farmer’s market and he was personally offended. Why has decent behavior become political?

Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.

— Rosa Parks

all-lives-matter-because-black-lives-matter

Final Thoughts

Finally, I have to say the obvious. Do your own research. Look up the facts. Don’t let the media tell you what you should think and what you should know. Think for yourselves and double-check every fact. If you don’t, you are little better than the German public who allowed the Nazi propaganda to lead them around by the nose until they were so deep there was no looking back. Thugs don’t have power unless we let them; unless we do nothing and allow the thuggery to continue. Be the freethinking that we built this country on. We didn’t let King George tell us what was okay and we rose up to throw off the yoke of oppression. Allow that same freethinking mindset in yourselves and help a worthy cause achieve justice for wrongs still being committed.

Let me know what you think but be assured that I will delete any comments that are hate-filled rhetoric. I appreciate honest and civil discourse and welcome conversations. But I will not be bated into the pit of name-calling and racial slurs.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 23, 2020:

Devika Primić,

I would love to hear your insights as well. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 23, 2020:

Interesting insight to what was a tragedy to the life lost. Your writer up makes me see how people of color are treated in racist countries

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 17, 2020:

William Kovacic,

You are showing your bias by not acknowledging that there is a difference in the way black people are treated. I said in the article above that all lives matter. I also explained that the treatment isn't the same. Do your homework. God loves black people too. The Ethiopian carried his cross for him. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 16, 2020:

Hi, Denise. Interesting article. I have to believe all lives matter. Red, Yellow, Black, or White. They're all precious in God's sight, but I do at times wonder about the black cop that kills a white boy and it never makes the news. It happens.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Dora Weithers,

I pray you have a peaceful and loving community to nurture you as well. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Dr Pran Rangan,

These have been hard times for this country and the world. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

Yes. That's it exactly. It's the old "bait and switch" method... don't look at what is really happening, look over there instead. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Linda Lum,

Me too. I'm sure I have a crush on Sidney Poitier. We watch Lilies of the Field several times at year. Love it.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Emese Fromm,

You are right. There is no excuse for white people to be so emotional about Black Lives Matter. You would think that they fear losing something. Yet it is the black people who have been losing all these years and no one seems to care about that. Well, I care. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

Jo Alexis-Hagues,

Please feel free to share. I do hope life does take a turn for the better but I'm not overly optimistic. We shall see. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 15, 2020:

Thanks for lending an informative sensible voice to this issue. My prayer is that people read and heed your message. I appreciate the drawing and all the pictorial messages. God bless you!

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on June 14, 2020:

Thanks Denise for sharing a great article at a time when the racial riots have rocked America. It's an eye-opener for all.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 13, 2020:

This is another powerful article, Denise. I completely agree with your comment about the "All lives matter" statement. Of course the statement is true, but like you I often feel that people say it to take the focus away from the issues that must be dealt with at the moment.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 13, 2020:

Denise, I saw "A Patch of Blue" in the theater when it first came out, and found it incredibly moving. A beautiful/sweet/sad story (and I also developed a crush on Sidney Portier). The music by Jerry Goldsmith is so powerful it seems that it is one of the characters in the story. The film would not be the same without it.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 13, 2020:

James C Moore,

So correct. This must stop. I fear for my grandchildren who have to grow up with this as if it's "normal" and acceptable. This is not acceptable! Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 13, 2020:

Virginia Allain,

You are so right, dear friend. Your thoughts do you justice. Maybe white men know that equality means they will get back some of what they have doled out so freely and they don't want that. You really aren't taller if you have to stand on people to get there. thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

McKenna Meyers,

Isn't that interesting how we don't "see" what doesn't affect us personally. I know I've been blind to things before until it touches my life. Then I wonder how I didn't see it before. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Linda Lum,

It does get old, doesn't it. It feels like we've marched around this mountain for centuries and never moved on. Bill is right. We need to wake up. I'm sure it is taught. Children don't hate right away. They have to see that modeled. They can be selfish, true. But I don't think they hate or even notice pigment differences. Have you ever seen "A Patch of Blue" with Sidney Poitier? About a blind girl that Sidney's character befriends. It is a remarkable movie. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Bill Holland,

I echo your sentiments. Thanks for being my faithful supporter and friend.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

It is easy to say but sometimes we really need to pay attention to who is making our laws and what they believe in. For so long, I have allowed "what will be will be" and the time has come to stop that mindset. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Emese Fromm from The Desert on June 12, 2020:

Thank you for a great post, Denise! During the first days of the protests, I found myself needing to explain why Black Lives Matter doesn't mean that other lives don't matter. It was hard to explain it to those who took it out of context. You explained it in a clear and powerful way. The problem is that people are all very emotional about this; although I can't understand why some white people feel threatened when they are not the center of attention. I have hopes for the future though when I see how many people of all races around the world are standing up for black lives and for racial justice. Change has been very slow, but it's happening.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Ann Carr,

I'm not usually a "hard-hitting" person so to write this was way out of my comfort zone but I did feel it was needed at this time. It's like the virus. Some people think it doesn't exist because it hasn't affected them (or infected them) at all. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

Well said, my friend. I do hope things can change soon. There has been enough of a protest storm that the government cannot go on ignoring it. Even things like NASCAR has taken notice and voted to ban the Confederate flag (long time symbol of racism) on racing vehicles. That's something, not much, but something. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

I have many more experiences but there are too many to share in one article. Needless to say, not all people are racists but enough that there is a problem. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 12, 2020:

Eric Dierker,

Thank you. I do love life and my husband. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 12, 2020:

Writing this took courage and real insight into what is happening in the world right now. I could not say it better. Kudos to you. If you don't mind, I'd like to share on my FB page. Maybe it will help to make a better future for your daughter and others like her. Stay safe now.

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on June 12, 2020:

The issue is one of life itself.Trayvonn Martin and Micheal Brown killed while simply walking. wwb- (walking while black) Ahmoud Arbery killed while jogging in daylight hours. jwb- (jogging while black) Breonna Tayler gunned down as she slept in her bed at her house. swb- (sleeping while black) George Floyd is stopped by police on suspicion of paying with a phony $20 bill, doesn't resist yet still suffocated. Enough already. If someone doesn't see something wrong here, they agree with taking black lives or they're in denial.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 12, 2020:

Thank you for speaking up so eloquently at this time. It really hurts me to see white people fight so hard to keep their dominance and privilege. I particularly see white males find any seeking equality (women or minorities) as being very threatening. Could that be because they know how they've been treating women and people of color? I guess they fear loss of status will mean they get mistreated in the future. Wise up people, we need equal treatment within our country and we need it now!

McKenna Meyers on June 12, 2020:

So beautifully said, Denise. This moment feels different. Things are changing and I feel hopeful. Maybe things in our country had to get this bad before we got motivated to change them. I had no idea that confederate flags were flying at Nascar until they were recently removed.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 12, 2020:

Denise, I simply don't understand the hatred; where does it come from? It has to be taught, because I hope to God that people aren't born that way.

I am so weary of this. But, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that we should stop talking about it. We should be screaming it. But it seems all we've done is talk. America has to finally DO something. As Bill said “Wake up America!”

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 12, 2020:

YES! You know how I feel about this. Hatred has touched our family, and I'm seething. Wake the hell up, America!!!!!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 12, 2020:

Your article speaks to truth and honesty in how we should all approach the current and long-lasting racial divide. I loved that photo of the different colored arms and the message about how we all bleed the same. Unfortunately, we are not all treated the same. That has to change! Your final thoughts make a good summary. My thoughts have often pondered that same comparison to Nazi Germany. Let's not blindly be led down that same path!

Ann Carr from SW England on June 12, 2020:

You are right that this problem in society needs to be dealt with properly and quickly.

There is a thorough campaign in all the areas of Britain, looking into the statues of prominent citizens erected in the past. One in Bristol was pulled down and thrown in the harbour and several others are about to be transferred to museums. If they are moved and their proper history annotated then they are put into the perspective of history. If they are torn down with no thought of the reasons they were put there in the first place (e.g. philanthropic merchants, though often misguided) then that is not a balanced reaction in my view.

I understand that high emotions and tension are the reason for some impulsive actions but we must use discussion, education and peaceful protest. Most protests have been peaceful but, sadly, a faction who arrive purely to incite the crowds to riot is all too common.

Change and progress will only come if we have education in how to treat each other and lessons in the history of all races, colours and creeds. My grandchildren have a balanced view, thank goodness, and know that we should treat everyone with kindness and respect. There is a long way to go before that is a truth around the world.

You have presented this as a hard-hitting piece and that's what's needed to make an impact and make it sink in.

Ann

Lorna Lamon on June 12, 2020:

A powerful message Denise and I have hope that people will continue to let their feelings show and Governments will take action to make amends. Centuries of oppression and racial prejudice which has become the norm has to end. Black lives have to matter, but until they are seen to matter nothing will change, and George Floyd's life and the lives of countless other black people will have been in vain.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 11, 2020:

This is a very well-written article from the heart. You write from a position of knowledge and experience. Thank you for laying out the situation so clearly.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 11, 2020:

Very interesting. You have a perspective born in love of life.