How “All Lives Matter” is Spiritual Bypassing & Why We Need to Say #BlackLivesMatter
I used to be someone who was triggered by the #blacklivesmatter movement. Like—what does that even mean? What do you mean “black lives matter”? Where’s my hashtag? What are you even trying to say? Doesn’t *every* life matter?
This resistance was indicative of my own racism, and how my ego had latched on to the patterning of white supremacy to build an identity. I had to ask myself some serious questions. Why am I so unwilling to listen to people who tell me I am wrong about this? Why am I so unwilling to hear black people when they tell me their lives matter? Maybe most important of all: why do I think ”Black Lives Matter” means that my white life doesn’t?
Is it because I was way more racist than I realized? Even though I thought (and still do think) people who call themselves “Grand Dragon Master” and wear white hoods while burning crosses on people’s lawns are nutballs, it apparently didn’t mean I was without racism. All it meant was that I didn’t engage in the most obvious acts of it. But here I was, throwing a medium-sized (and thankfully internal) temper tantrum over the perceived implication that by focusing on black lives, my life was being overlooked.
On top of that, I was feeling pretty smug and righteous in my (again, thankfully internal) assertion that, actually—ALL Lives Matter. I’m all about unity! I’m all about that peace and love! I shoulda been a hippie in the 60s, baby! Let’s just throw some love and light on this and remind everyone we all are ONE!
What I actually needed was to remind myself. All I had been doing up to that point with my love and light posturing was using it as a shield to ignore the ugly reality black people live with. They are not valued. They are not mattering. They can’t breathe. They are being murdered.
And I am not.
This did not jive with my peace-and-love Ringo Starr-esque philosophy, where I basically just waved around a couple peace fingers and then peaced out. I had to realize that I had been using my love and light mantras as lip service. I was just throwing them out there so I didn’t have to do any real internal auditing, or put any action behind my words. I thought that by staying out of it, I was rising above it.
I wasn’t. I was hiding behind it. This is spiritual bypassing.
If you are into the woo-woo, you might be familiar with the quote “action is the language of manifestation”. It means that if you want to see something manifested into the physical, then you have to be motivated enough by your intentions to actually do something about it. I can’t just say, “I believe in eating a healthy diet to create a strong body and mind!”, and then order in a pizza. Actions have to be in line with intention. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a nice sentiment.
So what I had was the assertion that We Are All One And Therefore All Lives Matter, but at the same time, not treating my BIPOC brothers and sisters as part of that All. I didn’t want to hear them. I didn’t want to see them. I didn’t want them to make me aware of something I didn’t want to face.
So, basically, I had nothing.
Well, that’s not true. I had something, but it was ugly, and it rhymed with “colonialism”.
It’s crucial that we question ourselves. Because Oneness means that when someone is hurting, everyone is hurting. This is important. There is no separation between “their” emotion and “our” emotion. Our agreement was necessary for this co-created experience to manifest. Where are you in agreement with white supremacy?
To dis-agree with white supremacy, we must tell ourselves we are wrong. Educate ourselves. Be present with ourselves. It’s important that we challenge and humble ourselves, and tell ourselves it’s okay to get it wrong (we are already wrong) as long as we are walking that path towards being more right.
I hope that a year from now, I will be able to look back on myself and be like whoa, that girl was doing her best—but she was racist. Because I hope that I will continue to grow, learn, and evolve towards a time and place and internal state of being where all lives actually matter.
But until then, #blacklivesmatter