A couple months ago, over 2,000 staff, faculty and students wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts to show the support and commitment they have to their black students.
In an article written by CNN reporter AJ Wellingham, many educators got together to support the BLM movement in their public schools http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/21/health/seattle-teachers-black-lives-matter-trnd/.
Some called it heroic and inspiring. Others were sickened.
There has been much controversy surrounding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and whether you agree with it or not, kids in Seattle and all over the U.S. have been exposed to this phrase day in and day out.
My older brother, the first in my family to graduate from college, is a Seattle teacher whom supports the movement.
So do other peers, family members and mentors I know who work for the Seattle education system.
In Ellensburg, Wa where i go to school, most hate BLM and– to this day– I often have to hear about it.
Let me share how I, a Polynesian college student from Seattle, feel about it.
In the 6th grade a cop stopped me and my brother on the way to 7-11. My older brother asked why we were stopped, to which the cop responded “just wait here long hair.”
“Man, we ain´t do shit,” shot out of my brother’s mouth. “Talk like a nigga and I treat you like a nigga. Got it?” the officer said sternly.
I never thought anything of that incident accept that I, a Polynesian who had just moved to Seattle from Hawaii, must be a nigga.
I remembered thinking “I’m not even black,” but somehow my image or the way I talked made me a nigga.
Now, it´s not just about a jerk cop who called me a nigga. It´s everything else.
I was told that I was supposed to be dumb, so I said stupid things. I was told Samoans were tough, so I internalized an intimidating persona.
I watched my peers who were also minorities experience the same kind of abuse by internalizing stereotypes, while listening to micro-aggression after micro-aggression, not realizing the damage it was doing to them psychologically
Black and brown students are told so many things growing up, but rarely were we told that we mattered.
This is my experience, the problem is, not everyone has to identify with this experience.
If you were never called a nigger, never racially profiled or felt belittled because of the color of your skin, chances are, BLM makes you angry, uncomfortable, or both.
I am not black but I stand in solidarity with my minority counterparts. What doesn´t make sense to me is the level sensitivity and anger people who do not agree with BLM approach me with.
There are discrepancies in our systems, Institutionalized racism is a real thing and we will never fix anything until we admit there is a problem. So why not let other lives matter?
People of color did not just wake up and decide that they were the superior race. If that´s what you think, then you are missing the movement and this form of “creative suffering,” will never end.
It is okay. We know you matter. We know we all matter, but obviously, some lives matter more than others.