Black Lives Matter
I chose this title for one reason and one reason alone, because its trending and I knew that it would get your attention. My hands shook at times with trepidation as I wrote these words because I understand the brevity and the scope of what those three words (Black Lives Matter) mean to friends of mine who are black, to them it means a great deal, and because they are friends of mine it means a great deal to me, however I came to the realization that I can never truly understand on anything close to a fundamental level what it truly means to be a black woman, or man … because I am not black, I am a white, red haired, fair complexioned male, who happened to have two parents who were ok with him coloring outside of the lines but didn’t care with what color he chose to do so. I’m grateful to them for that, that it didn’t matter what skin you wore, whether it be black, white, red, brown, tan, beige, yellow, pink or for that matter purple or blue all they saw and all they taught me to see were the lines that encompassed the whole of that person, they taught me to see within a person and judge them by their heart, not the tone of their skin. They taught me to see the Soul (for lack of a better term) of a person and not the cover within which they live.
If you’ll allow it I would like to take you back in time (if you’re a racist you’ll probably want to stop reading now because you’re not going to like what I have to say in the next couple of paragraphs), on a trip through humanities history, where we came from, where we’ve been and maybe … just maybe where were going.
There has been a long standing debate over the origin of our species, where humanity got its start in evolutionary terms, strong and vehement postulations have been put forward for there being one of two “origin” points for our kind (I say our kind, meaning all of us) as being the starting point for humanity. The first being South Africa, the second being East Africa, we already know that the “cradle of civilization” is Mesopotamia (also in Africa), so if your anything like me your starting to notice a pattern.
There’s a World Heritage Site in Johannesburg South Africa that lies mostly hidden underground in deep lime stone bedrock where one of the earliest members of our Genus was found “Homo Naledi”, or you can go to East Africa where the Leakeys made their groundbreaking discovery of the Bipedal Ape named Lucy was found.
In 1924, Anatomist Raymond Dart found a skull of a juvenile primate among a box of fossil-bearing rocks sent to him by the manager of a quarry of Tuang, on the edge of the Kalahari Dessert, despite a tiny brain and other ape-like features, the position of the opening at the base of the skull convinced Dart (and eventually the rest of the scientific community) that the “Tuang Child” had walked upright like a human, he described the find as Australopithecus Africanis (“southern ape of Africa”).
In east Africa, a man named Louis Leakey (a Kenyan-born son of English missionaries) after struggling for years to vindicate his long held belief that humanity was in fact rooted in east Africa, along with his wife, Mary discovered an australopithecine skull in Tanzania’s Olduvia Gorge. A year later the Leakeys would find a fossil of a seemingly more advanced Hominid Species, a bridge perhaps from Australopithecines to us which they dubbed Homo Habilis, or “handy man”, thus named because of the scattering of stone tools that were nearby.
So I ask you this, if the cradle of humankind is Africa … why aren’t all 7.8 billion of us black, the answer is simple (again if you’re a racist please stop reading … or don’t actually. Maybe a little education is exactly what you need)?
A few eons ago in east, or south Africa (it really doesn’t matter which) our progenitors decided to migrate, for what we will never know. Most likely they were following prey as their prey followed the rain which brought bountiful harvests of newly grown vegetation to feed upon and then we got curious as humans are want to do and we spread out, we looked over “there” and said … lets go, we had no way of knowing that the actual skin color of humans (of us) is affected by many substances, the most important of which is Melanin, its produced in skin cells and is called melanocytes and is the main determinant in the skin color of darker-skinned humans. The skin color of people with light skin is determined mainly by the bluish-white connective tissue and by the hemoglobin circulating in the veins of the dermis. The red color underlying the skin becomes more visible.
And we didn’t know at the time that there is a direct correlation between the geographic distribution of ultra violet radiation and indigenous skin pigmentation around the world, that as we migrated away from the equator (where we would get more UVL) to different areas (where we would get less UVL), that our skin would change its pigmentation to allow us to survive. Researchers have suggested that over the past fifty thousand years’ human populations have changed from darker, to lighter skin tones and then again from lighter to darker skin tones as they migrated from different UV zones.
All of us extant, the seven point eight billion of us that populate our planet with all of our hatreds, with all of our pre-conceived notions that I’m right and you’re not. That we, with all of our poignant belief that “my race” is the right one, that my “color” is the important one that my life matters because I’m black, because I’m white, because I’m beige or whatever hue I choose to paint myself in, is in-and-of-itself the right one can only lead down the road that takes us to oblivion, that way of thinking can only lead us to the utter ruination of “our species”.
Black Lives Matter!!! …. Yes, they do, if you go back far enough you’ll find that we all shared a single “kind” of skin, perhaps with enough time and understanding well all recognize that a thousand years from now we can all share it again.