Why it took me so long to say BLM
Black lives matter. There. That’s my first time typing it out. I didn’t want it to be a trite expression to me where I was just echoing social media sentiment. I wanted to give it deliberate thought.
I’m sitting here in Singapore, far from the movement’s epicenter, watching in horror as the fear of coronavirus gave way to a total breakdown in society over in the States. Mind you, we have our own baggage and should never take the unity of the people for granted. A careless word could be the flint that lights a fire fueled by undercurrents that have been building up over time, and fanned by the winds of emotion.
It took me so long to type out “Black lives matter” because it an obvious thing that didn’t need stating. I was also a little fixated on the negative space around the phrase. Do other lives not matter?
After some reflection I realised my error in attributing meaning to the words that aren’t said, instead of focusing on what is being said. Saying “black lives matter” does mean that other lives do not matter, or that black lives were somehow more valuable than other lives. In the same way, saying an apple is red doesns’t make an orange any less orange.
Saying “black lives matter” is important, because in today’s current climate, this truth isn’t self-evident. It isn’t self-evident in the unequal treatment of black people in America and many parts of the world. This inequality has been so exacerbated that we are fighting for an equal right to live. It breaks my heart that we have come to this.
It is easy, being so far away, to just be an observer and pass judgement, but prejudice and bigotry towards people unlike us is a sin that grips every human heart. The need for a come-to-Jesus moment to confess and confront our own biases is so necessary. The moment should be now, whether you are in Atlanta or in Asia. No one should take the life of another, and definitely not this callously.