I saw the car after it went past, but I sensed the driver to be young, white and male. The car was large and old, perhaps an oldsmobile. It had the first “White Lives Matter” and pro Trump stickers I’ve seen. I had a visceral reaction, my stomach felt sick. For behind those stickers, I believe, was a person who didn’t understand the privilege he already enjoyed. Seeing those stickers I felt the weight of how far this country still has to go until all of us are free from the chains of bigotry, racism and discrimination. I sensed the challenges and danger my six year old son would have to face as a teenager and black man in this country.
I saw these stickers one day after the mass shooting in Orlando; the worst mass shooting in US history; guns pointed and discharged at the gay and lesbian community, a community I am not all that much engaged in but to which I belong. That people could hate so much that they’d massacre an entire group of people based on whom they love. Love. Guns fired because the shooter couldn’t understand love.
I’ve been slightly sick to my stomach for the last two days, but not really talking about it. What is there to say? Bumper stickers, guns, hatred, ignorance. Of course all lives matter. Of course white lives matter. But that’s engraved in the foundation of our society, the underlying truth of our country. From the moment the first white Europeans came to this country, white lives have been deemed more valuable. From the evisceration of native peoples, slavery, discrimination, black slaves considered 2/3 a person, mass incarceration, black men shot at disproportional rates by law enforcement, discrepancies in sentencing, white men holding positions of power and making most of the decisions in this country, on and on and on. White lives have always been considered more worthy. Straight lives have been considered the norm. So damn right we need to be told or reminded or informed that Black Lives Matter; and LGBT ones too.