3. Get on the Same Page
Slide 3 of 7
Getting on the same page means make sure you are talking about the same thing. Make sure you really understand each other. It will require you to do some soul searching and face some hard truths. I want to give you an example so you understand what I mean.
Two of the terms we have heard prominently over the last few weeks are systemic racism and Black Lives Matter. Let me explain what both of these mean so we are on the same page.
Systemic racism means a white teenager walking down the street with a hoodie is a teenager. A black or brown teenager walking down the street with a hoodie is a suspect, threat, or suspicious.
Have you ever seen a black man walking down the street and crossed the street because you thought they looked suspicious?
Systemic racism means a white woman will call the police in Central Park and say a black man is attacking me because she knows the police are more apt to respond.
These things don’t mean you are a racist, it means that the system has slanted your opinion. It has played a role in shaping how you view people of different races. Because these thoughts are part of the system of thinking, they naturally influence how you think.
Again, I am not saying this is easy to admit, but if you want to build bridges this is what is necessary.
Black Lives Matter is the second example. To counter this phrase, people would say Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. I want to clarify this for you. When you hear Black Lives Matter it does not mean that black lives matter more than any other lives. That is not true, because they don’t. What this statement means is that black lives need to be valued the same as white lives, especially when interacting with law enforcement.
It is therefore not a statement of elitism, it is a statement of equality.
If I say Black Lives Matter and you retort with All Lives Matter, we are actually not saying the same thing. When black lives, brown lives, white lives, and all lives are treated equally, and all judged fairly, by the exact same standard—or, when people are all treated the same, based on who they are and nothing else—then the statement will be true that All Lives Matter.
If you are going to build a bridge, you have to make sure you are all on the same page and speaking the same language.
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