White and Woke: Black Lives Don’t Matter Until a Black Life Matters

Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground, and in that helpless state publicly executed. I say executed because a state official found wrong in him and became the judge, jury, and with a bullet, the executioner. The world witnessed a man shot for selling CDs and possessing a firearm.

Sandra Bland was asked to step out of her car and from there she was privately executed. Unarmed, she wound up dead, while in custody of those who were suppose to protect her.

Freddie Gray, unarmed, was thrown in the back of a police vehicle. Back broken, he became another black body robbed of breath by those who were suppose to protect him.

Walter Scott… running from a cop, was not pursued, but rather shot in the back. No judge, no jury, just an executioner. Walter Scott was robed, robed of breath.

Breathless on the concrete was how Eric Garner’s body was left. His last words were not something endearing to those he loved. While being suffocated he used his last breath to let the world know, “I can’t breath.”

The phrase hauntingly became a metaphor for an entire race.

The list continues: Darrius Stewart, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and many, many more were black bodies whose souls exited the world on a bullet.


The lives and deaths of these human beings bolstered the movement of Black Lives Matter, but what does that matter. As a white person you may choose to hashtag #blacklivesmatter or you may be of the mind set, as unfortunate as it may be, that the hashtag #alllivesmatter is necessary, but the reality is that the lives mentioned above do not immediately or directly matter to you. They are no more than tissue and bone to you; another vessel on this crowded planet.

Sometimes their bodies are convenient to you. Their breathless bodies allow you to talk about problems that aren’t your problems to talk about. Their atrophied heart will allow you to engage in a exhilarating battle of polemics, but their bodies don’t matter to you.

Their black bodies dying do not directly affect my and your white lives. Those bodies don’t look like your child. Those black bodies aren’t what you see in the mirror. Those black bodies don’t look like the people you go to or don’t go to church with on Sunday mornings. Those black bodies don’t matter because you don’t have to cry at their funeral and live with their absence. They are simply tally marks, numbers in excel spread sheets, an end result of an unfortunate mistake.

The death of black men and women will never matter to you until a life that manifests itself underneath black skin matters to you.

Value Added

Value leads to concern. Black men and women are able to shut down an interstate because the men and women that have been killed by police officers look like their children, their reflections, they are ones that have to cry at funerals. Black lives matter because they are intimately acquainted with men and women with the same shade of melanin as the victims mentioned above. Time and effort are poured into black lives, but news article after news article suggests that these lives could be taken away at any moment because of the color of their skin.

If you are white, concern can only grow with value, and value is the sum of time and effort. Who are you spending time with? Who is around your dinner table? Who are you allowing to speak? If the answer to all those questions are names of white people you will never be woke and black lives will never matter to you.