Note: I shared the following on Facebook, but thought it might be useful to post it here as well.
Dear white family and friends:
Let me be preemptive: yes, all lives matter, but that's not being debated in the United States. That's why there is intentionality to the message "black lives matter" because since the beginning of our (never has been a Christian) nation there has been ambiguity toward blackness. Our nation used to speak of them as "3/5ths" human and today our system often treats them the same way (please, read Michelle Alexander's 'The New Jim Crow' if you care about truth). While I understand the desire to follow Dr. King's words regarding not being judged by one's color, but by one's character, if our "colorblindness" rips Dr. King's words out of context by ignoring the reality that the same systems he fought are alive and well in a different form today then we do no justice to Dr. King's legacy. If "colorblindness" means ignoring systemic injustices against People of Color based on the myths of meritocracy, or that we've arrived as a post-race era because President Obama was elected, or whatever else, then Dr. King's legacy is not being honored, but mutated, misused, turned into propaganda for oppression. All lives do matter, but until the day that our nation believes this in practice we must be reminded that black lives matter as well as the bodies and souls of all those (Native American, Latino American, Japanese American, etc.) trampled by the wheels of our dehumanizing social structures.
(P.S. Yes, many of us whites had ancestors whose journeys here were hard, and who faced rejection by Anglo-America when they settled, but our merger into the dominate society has been easier because (1) we share white skin and the racist ideology of whiteness gave us a doorway to privilege; (2) we weren't brought here as slaves and we don't have to try to undo that legacy; (3) we weren't colonized peoples and we don't have to try to undo that legacy, so let's remember our "struggle" may have been real, but its present implications are not similar.)