In recent days we have received numerous emails, some as letters to the editor, others just addressed to the Big Bear Grizzly regarding the June 3 editorial titled “All Lives Matter.” Please accept this as our apology.
In no way was the editorial meant to offend nor to insult the Black Lives Matter movement. As many of you have pointed out in your messages to us, all lives do matter, but the phrase itself shifts the focus from those whose lives are in peril. Black Lives Matter, and the Grizzly staff did not mean to diminish that in any way. Ignorance is not an excuse, but in this case ignorance of the problematic use of all lives matter is at the core of the problems it caused when we used it in the June 3 editorial.
At no time did we mean to create a divide nor to whitewash our opposition to the racial divide in this country, this state and this community. At no time should anyone apologize for the color of his or her skin, but more importantly no one should ever have to live in fear because of the color of his or her skin. No one should be afraid to drive down a street wondering if a police officer will turn on the lights and sirens just because of the color of one’s skin. No one should be segregated or ostracized or judged because of the color of one’s skin.
Yet, Black men, women and children do live in fear because of the color of their skin. Blacks are afraid to drive down a street because they wonder if they will be pulled over because of the color of their skin. Blacks are segregated and ostracized and judged because of the color of their skin.
Racism needs to be eradicated not only in this country, but around the world. We agree we can’t just say we aren’t racist. We have to believe it, feel it, live it and become anti-racist.
We strongly oppose the violence against Blacks at the hands of law enforcement. The death of George Floyd brings to the forefront behavior that has long been overlooked, swept under the rug, accepted and in some cases even celebrated. That behavior needs to be stopped. Those who have the ability to affect change have ignored their responsibility and perpetuated racist beliefs that contribute to the divide in this country.
The Big Bear Grizzly supports those who have taken to the streets in protest of the racial divide and to honor Floyd. We have covered the peaceful protests that have taken place in our community, and we will continue to do so. We don’t support those in other areas who have used the peaceful protests as a cover for rioting and looting, and we hope those activities don’t find their way to Big Bear.
We do believe the conversations to wipe out racism need to be held with open hearts and open minds. A conversation needs two sides to listen and learn, and two sides to seek to understand.
The Big Bear Grizzly was wrong in using the all lives matter phrase and headline, and we accept responsibility for our mistake. We appreciate readers reaching out to us telling us they were offended, pointing out the ways we disrespected and undermined the Black Lives Matter movement. Again, we apologize. We at no time meant to offend, insult, disrespect nor undermine, but recognize how we did so.
Not only are conversations necessary, but education is vital to end racism. We are grateful to our readers for educating us and for sharing your thoughts, your feelings and the pain you felt by the editorial. We hear you, and you have my commitment to keep listening with open minds and open hearts.
History cannot be erased. But the sins of the past cannot be ignored. We must learn from those mistakes so we don’t continue to repeat them.
Our goal is to educate with the platform we have as a community newspaper. The Grizzly has been educated by our readers. We see your willingness to share your thoughts and feelings on the editorial as the beginning of the conversation. We hope your see our apology and the commitment to keep listening and to do better each and every day as a next step in the conversation and in the education process.
We will do better. We must all do better. We must bridge the divide and create equality for all in this country. We are committed to starting to build the bridge right here, in Big Bear, right now. Black Lives Matter.