Don’t be that friend. You know the kind I’m talking about: the friend that meets you for lunch when you’ve just announced that you think your spouse is cheating on you, and spends about 30 seconds listening to what you have to say before she cuts in to remind you of all the reasons why her last break up was so much worse than what you’re dealing with.
The friend who, upon noticing the gigantic thigh high cast on your leg, rather than asking you what happened and waiting to hear you tell your tale of woe, instead immediately launches into a long sordid tale about some ghastly injury or another that he experienced that was so much more severe than yours. We all have that one friend. Hell, maybe you are that person in your group of friends. And if you are that type of friend, please know that when your friends are hurting and their souls and bodies are wounded, everybody hates you a little for trying to turn the attention away from the injured and back towards you.
Right now, Baltimore is injured. Baltimore is hurting. Both the peaceful protests and the violent riots are the visual and visceral signs of this pain. And in this moment, each of us has the opportunity to decide which kind of a friend we would be to our brothers and sisters, both in Baltimore and in the black community at large. Each of us has the opportunity to recognize that unless we are a part of this community, today is not about us. Yes, white lives matter. Yes, blue lives matter. Yes, all lives matter. And the next time a police officer’s spine is mysteriously severed and his voice box crushed, I vow to be the first person in line to mourn with those who are mourning.
All lives matter, but right now Baltimore has the floor, and we have a choice. Will we listen? Or will we insist upon interrupting and redirecting and talking over the pain and heartache of those around us? Which friend will you be?