TL;DR

These three words fly around a lot lately. They are important.

Some background

When I was a child in Rome, seeing a person of color was a rarity. I remember going to school at 6 and there was a black child from Ethiopia in my class. I think he was the only one in the school, actually. I cannot remember anything bad being said about his skin color by anyone in the class or outside, but of course I was living my life and I could have missed it, or forgot about it.

All in all, though, I remember that he behaved pretty much like anyone else, so I hope that he wasn’t experiencing anything bad about his skin color.

Fast forward to high school, there were still I think only two or three black kids in the whole school, and I don’t remember complains. Again, I might have forgotten by now, even though I was much more attentive at the time.

There was definitely racism around, though. I remember an argument with a “right-leaning” kid that said he would never vote for a person of color, regardless of what they were for. He was not trying to convince others to do the same - not in that context, anyway - I guess he was “just” being honest on what he had inside. I hope he changed his mind, eventually; he didn’t that day.

So here I am, from the top of the “privilege” ladder: white, male, “cis”. Saying anything seems somehow out of place because - well - it’s too easy and not “lived on my own skin”. I’ll try to say it anyway.

Why we shouldn’t talk about Black lives matter

I don’t think this even needs to be said. It’s so obvious that Black lives matter that nobody should be reminded of that. So yes, in a functional world, these three words would just be a true, redundant statement and everybody would move on.

This is why we SHOULD not.

But this world is not functional, not in this regard anyway. Which brings us to…

Why it’s important that we do talk about Black lives matter

There’s a lot of people around that argue that all lives matter, and for this they think we must not talk about Black lives matter.

Please, don’t fall into false dichotomies.

Saying that Black lives matter does not imply anything else than… Black lives matter. It’s not taking anything from any other skin tone’s right to live. It’s a scream to expose a point: as it is now, all lives matter is not true, simply because there’s so many that think that black lives do not matter the same as the others. Just look at the statistics in some “civilized” countries.

If you really believe that all lives matter, stop pretending that Black lives are treated the same as the others in those places. They are not.

So, please convince yourself that Black lives matter is a tool that is needed to expose inequality and demand attention to a literally vital problem. I can only imagine that Black people are the most annoyed by it, because it means that they are still not getting treated as they have the right to.

When this inequality will be over, when it will have become “just a true, redundant statement”… then yes, we will consider stopping to say it. Let’s work together to make this happen.