Two years ago, the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to ISIS. Christians living there became targets of persecution. ISIS would mark their homes and businesses with the Arabic letter ن (N, for “Nazarene”) and give them four options: leave, convert, pay a “protection” tax, or die.
The world responded—Christians and Muslims together—by saying #WeAreN. People wrote the Arabic letter ن on their hands. They changed their profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter. They stood up in solidarity with this one persecuted group in one corner of the world.
So tell me: did you object to saying #WeAreN two years ago, the way you object to saying #BlackLivesMatter today?
Did you respond, “All lives matter!” then as you do now?
Did you argue that it’s unfair to single out one group for concern, as if saying #WeAreN somehow minimizes the value of other groups—some of whom, in the case of Iraq, arguably suffered more at the hands of ISIS than Christians? (Pro tip: google the term “Yazidi.”)
What meaningful difference is there between saying #WeAreN in solidarity with those in Iraq and saying #BlackLivesMatter in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers in America?
If none of you took #WeAreN to mean and no one else matters, why do you take #BlackLivesMatter in this way? Why do you assume it means what it categorically does not mean, and ignore all evidence to the contrary? Did you listen to those who started the movement before you drew your conclusions about it?
Is there, perhaps, another, deeper reason you don’t want to say #BlackLivesMatter?
Are you afraid of what these words will force you to acknowledge—that racism is still very much alive in this country?
That you really don’t want to give up your power and privilege? (I know I’d rather not give up mine, if I’m being honest.)
That you don’t really want to “value others above yourselves,” as the apostle Paul once put it?
That you’re not prepared to face the implications of living as if black lives truly matter to us?
If you were one of the millions who said #WeAreN two years ago, but cannot abide saying #BlackLivesMatter, how is that not the very definition of hypocrisy?