A Statement about the Black Lives Matter Protests
Posted by Byron Pendason on , in Politics
Wes þu hāl! (This is an Old English greeting that basically means, be well/healthy/whole!) I want to begin this post with an apology for my absence the last few months. The global pandemic and our government’s completely incompetent handling of the crisis has been giving me episodes of depression and anxiety that’s had me unable to do much of anything productive. I spent most of the lockdown buried in tv shows, movies, video games, etc. Unhealthy escapism, I know. The recent murder of George Floyd, and the government responses to the protests that followed, just made it much worse. I’m sincerely sorry if I had anyone worried. I am physically healthy (though still fighting my mental demons, so to speak).
I avoid politics in this blog. Politics have little to do with the practice of Heathenry, or the worship of its divine beings (gods, ancestors, and wights). However, I do condemn the racism that I see within Heathenry, so it’s only fitting that I also condemn the racism of our culture that allows racism to permeate my religion.
All people, regardless of skin color, are equal. They should be treated equally by the law, the governments that make the laws, and those who enforce the law. Police brutality targeted disproportionately at minorities has no place in society. As the founding document of our nation (the Declaration of Independence) says, “All men [men used in the gender neutral sense it often carried in that day, to mean all people] are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (The fact that we polytheists believe in multiple creators does not change the truth of the statement that all people are equal.)
What about the violence that these protesters are showing? you may ask. First of all, it has been reported that in many cases, the protests were peaceful until the police, or more recently the National Guard, attacked the peaceful protestors with tear gas, rubber bullets, and other so-called “non-lethal” methods of “crowd control”. From there, things always get out of control in the panic that follows. Other instances have shown undercover police (or in a few cases, known white supremacists) starting fires and causing damage to property in order to discredit the movement.
In the very few instances where it is the protesters who start rioting and looting, I say good for them! They’re standing up for themselves, fighting for their equality in a society that all too often don’t give a damn about their freedoms.
Martin Luther King, Jr said that a riot “is the voice of the unheard.” African-Americans have been ignored consistently for the last 400 years. According to stats, blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than whites. That’s ridiculous. They deserve the same freedom and equality as any other American.
It’s time to end the systemic racism present in our justice system, and it’s time to hold police accountable for their racism. If it takes another revolution to hold America to its founding principles, sign me up. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t take another civil war, as I will have beloved family members on both sides of that war. But it’s a war I’m willing to fight.