Over the last several weeks, there have been some pretty horrible things that have happened in the world and in our country. On July 16th, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., which left 4 Marines and 1 Navy petty officer dead. Then Cecil a very popular lion in a Zimbabwe national park was recently killed by Walter James Palmer, a dentist in Minnesota. We also saw the very disturbing video of the Planned Parenthood luncheon where babies organs were talked about very non-nonchalantly. Then just yesterday a video was revealed of Samuel Dubose, who was an unarmed black male and was killed at the hands of a University of Cincinnati police officer. Clearly there have been many other horrible incidents that have happened in the last several weeks but these are the four I have primarily seen talked about on social media.
Something that I have noticed when several horrible incidents happen in a short amount of time is social media explodes with information about the events that have occurred. If you have been on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets in the last several days there is no way you didn’t see at least one person talking about these recent events. People will share their views on the events and then the discussions and sometimes arguments will ensue.
There is one thing I have tended to see during this time when many people of various backgrounds and cultures comment on the Tennessee shootings, Cecil the Lion, Planned Parenthood and Samuel Dubose. Yesterday I noticed (and thankfully later he addressed) that when popular rap artist Lecrae commented and shared the Samuel Dubose video very quickly other white Americans responded by saying, “Why don’t you speak up more about the Marines who were killed?” Or people would say, “Why haven’t I heard you talking more about Planned Parenthood harvesting organs?” Lecrae went on to explain that he has talked about these things in the past and has addressed his thoughts on these incredibly important issues.
My thoughts on this are:
1. Why must someone be chastised when speaking up about an injustice they see because they didn’t speak up about all injustices they see within that one post or tweet?
For me acknowledging one injustice does not mean that we think the other injustices are not important (such as Tenn. shootings, Cecil the Lion, or planned parenthood). It is not a competition to prove which injustice is worse or which one deserves our attention more. When someone shares about an injustice can we just acknowledge that something needs done about it and then work together to see it end? It reminds me of the #blacklivesmatter movement because it is inevitable that if you see someone share #blacklivesmatter you will see someone very shortly say #alllivesmatter or #policelivesmatter. To acknowledge that black lives matter does not mean others do not, but it means there are people who are precious to God that continue to be harmed and killed and we need to address the issue.
2. We are missing the consistency in our outrage.
What I mean by that is when you see people (no matter what color they are) share a video of the Samuel Dubose shooting you very quickly will see a white American say, “Why don’t you speak up more about the Tenn. shooting? Don’t you care about our military?” Or, “Why don’t you speak up more about the horrible things going on with planned parenthood?” But what you notice is we don’t see those same people speaking up when others are sharing about the Tenn. shooting or Planned Parenthood by saying, “Hey, black lives matter too! Why are you just talking about planned parenthood or the Tenn. shooting?”
I think we need to be honest with this situation and be willing to call it what it is, which I believe is an attempt to silence others from speaking up. I think we can stand up and say what happened to Samuel Dubose was horribly wrong, just as the killing of the Marines and Navy officer in Tennessee, just as the planned parenthood video, and the killing of Cecil the Lion. It is not a competition as to which one is worse, they are all wrong, and we need to fight for others, to speak up, and to love others as we love ourselves.