My Uber driver told me a story, a story that turned a $6 Uber ride into a war of tears and emotions beyond my own mind.
I tend to start conversations with people and ask them about their interests, political options, where they are from, etc.
I could tell this man was humble. He had a bit of a southern accent; he was older in age, and reeked of a humble disposition.
He began to tell me a story about his wife’s parents. They were about the same age as Martin Luther King Jr., so they were present in the middle of the highest points of oppression. He came from Mississippi so I inquired about his experience with racism and this was his response:
“Well the world has gotten much much better than what it used to be. My wife’s parents actually did work with the police in the area, but then there was come conflict over something small when it came to the work place so one night the police officer came to their home and started pounding on the door. This was many many years ago so women were very conservative in what they wore, so my wife’s mother was in the middle of putting on more elegant clothing to answer the door- all women were like that though, it was just part of the time.
The police officer broke down the door and came in the their home with no permission while the woman was still partially undressed. Her dad, the black man, grabbed a hammer and started to tell him to get out of their home, the violence escalated and the police officer ended up being shot two times in the leg. And then when they went to the hospital to get everyone checked out, the hospital denied them of service and told them they needed to go somewhere else to get help because they were not going to treat someone who hurt a police officer.
My wife’s mother went to prison for two years because of that night and her dad went for five. Things aren’t as bad as this now, but I think that is the point of the Black Lives Matter movement, we were white peoples slaves for hundred of years, we were not the same as white people, we could not sit the same places as them or go to the same schools or drink out of the same area only because of the color of our skin.
But God loves us all; He knows that the only race is the human race. If He can forgive everyone for all of that, than so can I. Anger never got us anywhere, although, we do have the right to be mad.
I learned a lot from this, one of them being that I will never be as good of a person as this Uber driver. I was instilled with excessive rage and all he could talk about after this story was God’s love and the importance of compassion.
There seems to be this mass assumption that The Black Lives Matter movement is about demeaning the work of police officers, when really, it has absolutely nothing to do with any particular occupation at all.
The Black Lives Matter movement is an acknowledgment. It’s looking beyond our own defensiveness and looking into the pain and history of our fellow neighbors. This movement is about holding someone else’s history of pain and validating it so they know they are heard and so that they feel the empathy of their unrightfully and discriminating experience.
If anything, the Black Lives Matter movement is about evolving, it’s about growth, it’s about forgiveness, it’s about recognizing how far we have come- but how far we have yet to go.
If we look through the lens of compassion then we will see that the Black Lives Matter movement has less to do with shame and blame, and more to do with forgiving the past and refusing to continue to repeat it.