What Matters

July 13, 2016

I understand that when you hear the words “black lives matter,” you might think to yourself, hey, wait a second, my life matters, too. And you’d be right. But here’s the catch:

In all likelihood, you were never in a situation where it was suggested that your life didn’t matter. Nobody, through their words or actions, has ever given you the impression that it would be easier to kill you than it would be to grant you basic human rights.

And just because somebody else finds themselves in that situation, compelled to make the simple declaration, I don’t deserve to die, it doesn’t mean that your life has less value.

Simply put: this isn’t about you.

Now it could be that you are not compelled to empathize with those who feel marginalized by the criminal justice system. That’s fine. Nobody is forcing you to sign a petition or march in a protest. But neither are you obligated to chime in with a trite comeback:

“All lives matter.”

When you say those words, you might think you’re saying, my life matters, too. But in actuality what you’re saying is, I don’t believe that you’re afraid. I don’t acknowledge that you might have a reason to be angry.

So maybe if you don’t have something to contribute to the conversation, if you don’t have a well-reasoned argument that rises above rhetorical slogans, maybe you should keep your mouth shut.

Don’t be a troll.