I can see your but…

“I support the Black Lives Matter protests, but…” 

“I’m against police brutality, but…” 

“I deplore the 21st century lynching of a black man in broad daylight at the hands of those supposed to serve and protect… but…” 

I see you, you know?  

I see what you’re doing. I read what you write. I listen to what you say. I digest it all.

You have the right to your opinion. I wouldn’t dare to deny you that, but I have the right to tell you why I think you should consider it more thoughtfully, more critically, with just a little more care. 

“I agree that Black Lives Matter, but…” 

I understand exactly what you mean when you add that conjunction, those three little letters that reveal so much.

The police do need to be held more accountable, but…” 

If you qualify your anti-racism with a but, then I do not need to hear what comes next, because I already know that you are not anti-racist, you are not prepared to STAND against racism, you are not prepared to WORK against racism, you are not prepared to FIGHT against racism.  

You can be ‘not-racist’ as much as you like. You have black friends. You listen to Tupac. You don’t see colour, okay. 

But your but tells a story. Your but means that you don’t really care. Not really. You don’t have to. Because being not racist is enough for you, yes? That’s where it ends for you, yes? 

“I’m not racist, but…” 

What you’re saying is that your support for the fight against racism is conditional upon certain criteria being met. Criteria that you have decided upon.

Because you can. Because you wrote the rules. Because the game is yours.  

This game is rigged.  

The criteria, clearly laid out, clearly stated, are yours. And if your criteria are not met, if your rules are broken, you refuse to play.

But refusing to play only serves to enable. Refusing to play enables racism and brutality and oppression and attainment gaps and wage gaps and hostile environments and deportation and profiling and murder to continue, to endure, to persist, unabated, unchallenged… unhinged.  

But… you are not racist, and that’s all there is. 

“Black Lives DO Matter, but…” 

“I don’t agree with the looting.” 

“I don’t agree with the violence.” 

“It’s unfair to say ALL cops are bastards.” 

“Toppling memorials to those who made their fortunes by enslaving, by torturing, by murdering black people in their tens of thousands is just vandalism, and those people should be punished.” 

“Black Lives DO Matter, but…” 

“Don’t take my statues!” 

“Don’t take my history!” 

“Don’t take my Starbucks!” 

“Don’t mess with my commute!”

“Don’t call me Karen!” 

“Don’t mess with MY privilege!”  

“Black Lives DO Matter, but…” 

“You should protest peacefully.” 

“You should protest quietly.” 

“You should protest silently.” 

“No, not like that.” 

“You should protest invisibly.” 

“Shhhhhh!” 

“Black Lives DO matter, but… shhhhhh! Quiet!” 

.

.

Well here’s the thing.  

I can see your but. 

And it’s ugly as sin. 

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