Two years ago, the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to ISIS. Christians living there became targets of persecution. ISIS would mark their homes and businesses with the Arabic letter ن (N, for “Nazarene”) and give them four options: leave, convert, pay a “protection” tax, or die.
The world responded—Christians and Muslims together—by saying #WeAreN. People wrote the Arabic letter ن on their hands. They changed their profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter. They stood up in solidarity with this one persecuted group in one corner of the world.
So tell me: did you object to saying #WeAreN two years ago, the way you object to saying #BlackLivesMatter today?
Did you respond, “All lives matter!” then as you do now?
Did you argue that it’s unfair to single out one group for concern, as if saying #WeAreN somehow minimizes the value of other groups—some of whom, in the case of Iraq, arguably suffered more at the hands of ISIS than Christians? (Pro tip: google the term “Yazidi.”)
What meaningful difference is there between saying #WeAreN in solidarity with those in Iraq and saying #BlackLivesMatter in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers in America?
If none of you took #WeAreN to mean and no one else matters, why do you take #BlackLivesMatter in this way? Why do you assume it means what it categorically does not mean, and ignore all evidence to the contrary? Did you listen to those who started the movement before you drew your conclusions about it?
Is there, perhaps, another, deeper reason you don’t want to say #BlackLivesMatter?
Are you afraid of what these words will force you to acknowledge—that racism is still very much alive in this country?
That you really don’t want to give up your power and privilege? (I know I’d rather not give up mine, if I’m being honest.)
That you don’t really want to “value others above yourselves,” as the apostle Paul once put it?
That you’re not prepared to face the implications of living as if black lives truly matter to us?
If you were one of the millions who said #WeAreN two years ago, but cannot abide saying #BlackLivesMatter, how is that not the very definition of hypocrisy?
Photo: Gerry Lauzon on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
11 thoughts on “A question for those who won’t say #BlackLivesMatter”
Or, for those, like me, who knew nothing about the N, a clear, simple story making the rounds online:
https://imgur.com/a/yS7Ys#zKhxhSr – although I also like your analysis of motivations.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, that story sums it up nicely! Thanks for sharing.
I like the parallels you’ve drawn here. Good food for thought! I also enjoyed this Reddit “Explain Like I’m Five” thread about the same issue : https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3du1qm/eli5_why_is_it_so_controversial_when_someone_says/
LikeLiked by 1 person
Okay,after reading one of these links, here’s my question. If it’s implicit that the word “too” is at the end of “Black Lives Matter,” why not just add the word “too” instead of everyone arguing over it?
Do you really think that would satisfy their critics?
I live in Canada, but I found out racism was still alive and well in the States from my sister. She became a Marine and one day after work she asked her friend if he would come to the bar with her. He was black and he said, “If I went to the bar with you, I’d be killed.” This was in South Carolina about 16 years ago.
Even here in Canada the police stop and question people because of the color of their skin. They have a real problem with that in Toronto where the police used something called, “Carding,” meaning they could stop anyone walking anywhere and ask for ID and ask questions and then put your name in their little book! And who did they stop the most? That has now been banned because of protests. People are having, “Black Lives Matter,” marches here too but the police are probably not too fearful because our citizens don’t walk around carrying handguns, and to buy a rifle you have to jump through many hoops. We don’t have to worry too much about getting shot up here, thank God.
What a lie…every word. Systematic institutional racism simply doesn’t exist in America. But I’ll devulge my personal prejudice–against Canadians. You all are some of the worst/ hyprocritical people in the world because you are all Leftists and Leftists are Evil. I’m sure my comment will be deleted but it needs to be said.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi, Well, I don’t think my sister would lie to me but that’s okay if you want to think so. Not all whites are bad, not all blacks are bad and neither are all Canadians bad. We are all individuals with different beliefs and different politics. I traveled through the South many years ago and found the people there to be the friendliest I have ever seen. I just wish we would all judge people on a person by person basis.
Viktor Frankl said there are only two races in the world. The race of the evil and the race of the good. I think he was right.
Don’t you understand the implications of joining forces with BlackLivesMatter? Have you viewed their website? When arriving at their page, click on the menu tab, then their guiding principles, then the black tab with the yellow circle that reads Black Villages. There you will read the alarming words: We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement…
No, I have never viewed their website, but I will today. I’m sure there are militant and violent people in many groups of people. These people are just sick of being picked on by policemen. I read a book by a man who adopted a black child. When he was old enough to drive, he was stopped constantly by the police just to check out who he was. His father said he saw it himself whenever his son was driving and he was in the passenger seat.
I did read the website and not only are they against the family that God set forth between one man and one woman for life ( this is debated as well amongst christians) They are for affirming homosexuality.
I have many darker skinned friends,as I am lighter skinned person. Really no one is truly BLACK or WHITE. in color. We all just have varying shades of skin color.That said I am sure that in some areas there are policeman pulling over young men who are darker skinned because they perhaps fit into a
type that they are targeting for various reasons,some of which I believe to be racism . Sometimes its because they look suspicious to the law enforcement officer or their behavior looks suspicious as well.
I know from personal experience as a young person when we were riding around at night on the weekends or just between the hours of 10- till 5 in the morning with more than 2 people in the car I was probably pulled one more than 15 times back in the day. We also said yes sir no sir because that is how we were raised. I witnessed many a young man at parties or after being pulled over by the police that were argumentative or rude to the police handcuffed and put into a squad car they were not darker skinned people they were very light skinned) by the way.We ALL knew IF you did not cooperate with the police it would not bode well for you.We certainly knew better than to raise a fake gun or point our finger at them in a threatening way,or run from them after telling that person to stop.So I guess when a white person gets treated the same way is it racism? from a white police officer?
I am not trying to oversimplify all of these shootings,because each onneof these HAVE to be taken case by case .They by no means should be lumped all together as a lot of people are doing ti stir up racial hatred among people As a matter of fact in some of these shootings these men were clearly warned many times and for some reason the individual did not cooperate for some reason,perhaps they were scared . I have not read the police report nor was I there as a witness. What I do know is that there are groups that are stirring up racism between ALL OF US and GOD condemns those WHO ARE RIOTOUS AND THOSE WHO CAUSE DISCORD AMONGST THE BRETHREN! so my advice to them is they need to be peacemakers for it is the peacemakers who will see God!
We who profess to be Christians need to be praying for the families of these men and pray that they will forgive and forgive as they have been forgiven. The Amish at Sandy Hook have taught us all a lot about what this looks like.