If black lives mattered, we all would acknowledge on every Fourth of July that 20 percent of the population at the time of the American Revolution was enslaved [“Black Lives Matter activists in Rio to highlight racism,” seattletimes.com, July 20]. Whose freedom and independence do we celebrate and whose enslavement do we ignore?
If black lives mattered, we’d all realize that the “Stars and Bars” flag — whatever else it represents for some — stands for a horrific history of slavery, oppression and persecution for the 13 to 14 percent of the population that is African American.
If black lives mattered, we all would admit that the South’s Jim Crow laws were matched by segregated housing, segregated schools, redlined neighborhoods and double standards in justice elsewhere.
If black lives mattered, then our school systems wouldn’t be separate and unequal, with 23 states spending more per pupil in affluent school districts than they do in high-poverty districts.
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If black lives mattered, then black males, who are less than 10 percent of the overall U.S. population, wouldn’t make up more than 35 percent of those in jail and prison.
If black lives mattered, then innocent black people wouldn’t be killed by the police.
But black lives don’t matter.
If black lives mattered, we all wouldn’t tolerate this situation any longer.
Rabbi Anson Laytner, Seattle