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OPINION

Truth: Black lives haven’t mattered

Courteous Comments by Kirt Manion

When it comes right down to it, objections to the Black Lives Matter movement boil down to one clear sentiment. That this doesn’t apply to me.

I get it.

I live in rural Nebraska, so I don’t see oppression. I don’t see hate. I am not a daily witness to systemic racism.

I am completely and totally ignorant to the pain experienced by so many—pain that has been part of daily living for generations.

It was far too easy to think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights movement as historic events in that they changed the condition of race relations in America.

You’ve heard it said, ”We've come so far.”

We have not.

President Barack Obama was seen as black first and president second, but we focussed on the fact that America was audacious enough to elect him and not on the fact that it was considered a bold move to do so in the first place. We ignored comments that he was at greater risk of assassination because he was black. We ignored the almost constant push and attempts to prove that he was not legitimate as the president because he wasn’t even an American. He was with the enemy.

How convenient.

We hear what we want. And we believe in accordance.

We didn’t hear publicly stated racially incentive comments for years and took it as evidence that they no longer existed. That we had distanced ourselves somehow from a horrible past.

It appears all that racism needed was the right level of permission. It’s back. Let’s face it. Racial prejudice never went anywhere. It has always been a part of our story.

Our "great progress" could not have been farther from the truth.

We have made little to no progress.

Racism lives and breathes in a system built to sustain it. Bernie Sanders was on the nose. The system is the problem. It is continuing the pattern. It must be torn down. It must be re-constructed with equality as its primary consideration.

America stands as the model of Democracy. That is what we all want to believe. And a month out from our Independence Day, Americans need to be shaken from their slumber, to realize a truth too long ignored.

Black Lives Matter.

Second-class citizen status can no longer be tolerated. Racial injustice can no longer be ignored. Ignorance must be stated and then confronted.

I know far too little about racial injustice. I know virtually nothing. But I want to do better.

This sentiment doesn’t mean I always will do better. It means that I am going to try.

These days have tried the souls of Americans who thought they lived in a place of peace and justice only to find out they were so wrong in so many ways.

Now that we realize there is a problem, it’s time to get busy fixing it and the only way is to empower the oppressed and support their efforts to construct a new system of equality from the ashes of the old system of intolerance. People who have held power for generations need to step aside and concede to people who know what has been happening and have an idea for how to address it.

When racism is called out upon white Americans, they must respond with a question. How can I work toward change?

It’s going to be messy. It’s going to take a long time. But the actions taken now will affect generations to come. So those actions must be the correct actions.

Plant the tree of liberty for those to come. Those who plant the tree may not be able to enjoy its shade, but they’ll be the ones history remembers for the good they did for humanity.

We must be better people. White America. We must act.

There should be no other choice.