I broke my foot when I was 15. I was playing basketball, jumped up, shot over someone, scored (obviously), and then I landed on their foot. I tore a ligament as well, but not before that ligament tore a bit of bone from my foot. It hurt.
When I limped into the hospital, this is what I said:
“My foot is swollen and red and really painful. I need you to take a look at it.”
Do you know what they said?
“Yes, of course. Take a seat sir and we’ll sort you out.”
Do you know what they DIDN’T say?
“Your other foot matters too, you know.”
If they’d said that I would’ve been somewhat frustrated, as I’m sure you can imagine. I probably would’ve replied with something like this:
“Obviously it matters. But the foot that’s swollen and red and in pain is what matters right f***ing now.”
I wasn’t going to get involved in #blacklivesmatter but I feel compelled to. I’m white, so I don’t understand what it’s like to be black, and I definitely don’t understand what it’s like to be black in America. I’m white, so I’m privileged. I’ve been out with my black friends and seen them be refused entry into a club while I get in with no problems. I’ve seen taxis avoid me and my friends for no reason other than my friends are black — I’ve never had the same problems with my white friends.
I don’t understand what it’s like to be black, and I never will, and I’ll never claim to. But I have experienced why the #blacklivesmattermovement needs to matter.
Like I said: I’m white, so I’m privileged. There’s no point pretending that isn’t the case and there’s no point apologising for it, because both of those things achieve nothing. I wish it weren’t that way, of course — but at the moment, it is. So the best thing I can do is to USE that privilege. Use it to say that yes, all lives matter. Obviously all lives f***ing matter. But that right now, black lives don’t seem to matter as much.
It’s not necessarily the ignorance of people that I mind. Everybody has beliefs they’ve never questioned. I respect someone who realises they’re wrong and then changes. What I have no time for is someone who won’t even question their ignorance. Someone who won’t even think twice about why the #blacklivesmatter movement is necessary. Someone who’s so entrenched in their own opinion — and being “right” — that they won’t even bother to listen to anything else.
I’m a wholehearted supporter of #blacklivesmatter and I will be until I die. Anything less means I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a human being.