Guide to Why “Black Lives Matter” Matters
Introduction to this Guide
The opposition to learning about racism, or a Black Lives Matter sign, etc. is framed in a wide variety of ways. These include:
- “I had a hard life and was able to get ahead, some people of color had it much easier so if they want to be more successful they only have to try harder.”,
- “There is only one race, the human race”
- I don’t see color and to talk about it is divisive “
- “anti-racism says that all white people are oppressors and all Black people as hopelessly oppressed victims which is ignorant”,
- “What about the woman who was raped and killed by an illegal immigrant?”,
- “it’s not just black lives that matter, it should be all lives matter “,
- “no one here today owned slaves nor were they slaves. It is irrelevant now and no one’s responsible or accountable for something long ago”
- “Critical race theory, the 1619 Project, are a crusade against American history and toxic propaganda, ideological poison, that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together and destroy our country.”
If any of this seem familiar, if you are interested in how to interact with people who believe these sorts of things or just want to learn something new, this study guide presents short, bite size pieces of information (5-10 minutes read) that has proved to be successful.
Module I: Why?
As Anti-racism activist Jane Elliot says: “We wouldn’t have to have Black Lives Matter if we didn’t have 300 years of Black Lives Don’t matter.”
These series of quick lessons hopefully will start to explain this, one detail at a time.
Black codes were laws enacted through the South both during and after slavery that governed slaves and free people of color. They included things such as teaching or attempt to teach, any slave to read or write, he or she shall be sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes on his or her bare back.
New sessions are sent out through email a couple times a month. If you wish to be on the list contact us at the email below.
Module II: What?
As we move forward in both understanding the context of the issue and what ordinary people can actually, practically do to change the dynamics of race in this country, it is important that we all have some common understanding of how terms are being used.
Two the most commonly misunderstood terms are white privilege and white supremacy. The hope is that these definitions will help white people move beyond guilt, shame, blame, denial, and resistance, to examine how to challenge specific forms of white privilege and supremacy.
“Critical race theory” (CRT) actually is an academic concept, mostly taught in law schools, that studies U.S. policies and institutions. It started in the 1970s as a framework for legal analysis, when law professors began exploring how race and racism have shaped American law and society.
Module III: Where?
This module explores the places and spaces in our society and ourselves where things started and were incubated to grow into where we are today. It is also important to remember that history is now. When Harriet Tubman was born, Thomas Jefferson was alive and Ronald Reagan was alive when she died.
A place where truth telling is severely compromised is the celebrating of holidays particularly Thanksgiving. If we let go of the myth and start speaking truth can we still have a meaningful Thanksgiving? This can happen if we choose to tell the real story, acknowledge that the Pilgrims were European immigrants and often didn’t behave in loving or respectful way, and the real reason Thanksgiving was begun which had nothing to do with Pilgrims and Native people.