“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” -Audre Lorde
Many people ask me if I am a part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and some are stunned to find out that I am not. There is no simple answer for why I am not affiliated with the group. I believe the issues facing Black and Brown Americans are multifaceted and cannot be solved by protests alone because if Black lives really mattered:
-We wouldn’t depend on fractured institutions to make us whole; we would look within and find the tools to become whole.
-We wouldn’t be divided against ourselves; we would work together to lift up every person in our communities without regard to their race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious understanding or political affiliation.
-We wouldn’t be hypocritical with our values; we would perpetuate the same respect and integrity that we demand from others.
-We wouldn’t support economic systems that don’t support all of us; we would create, support and sustain an economy that promotes longevity, equal access to education, and an even distribution of wealth.
-We wouldn’t accept the fallacy of a collective Black identity; we would honor the legacy of the slave narrative while affirming that all Black and Brown folks don’t have the same connection to that narrative.
-We wouldn’t spend any time waiting on “them” or “those people” to get “it”; we would pursue the lives we believe we deserve to live no matter how hard we must work or how humble we must be.
-We wouldn’t define ourselves by who we are not in the eyes of a dominant culture; we would own who we are and celebrate ourselves without apology.
Black American antecedents were conditioned in slavery, and their slave mentality rooted in fear and shaped by oppression was passed down to their descendants. Those of us who had the opportunity to be educated outside of that paradigm are able to see the cracks in the system. Unfortunately, there are many people who still don’t know any other system than the one which tells us we must seek permission outside of ourselves in order to thrive.
We are all born with the same power within us, which grants us the ability to live and pursue a life that corresponds to the desires of our heart and the nature of our soul. My life matters; and while I affirm that Black lives do in fact also matter, the only movement I’m a part of is the movement of the Holy Spirit which calls us all forth to live freely.
Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson is a United Church of Christ pastor, digital evangelist, and transgender rights advocate. You can find him online at LTRichardson.com.
Instagram & Twitter: @Larry2_0