To The Editor:

 The other day at the peaceful protest held at the Jackson County Courthouse, we were yelled at by a passing car. They yelled in anger "All Lives Matter". Yes, all life matters, all life is sacred. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" has nothing to do with minimalizing any part of humanity; it is a recognition of the systemic and widespread suffering of a portion of it.

Yes all life matters, but we, as white citizens of Jackson County, will never automatically be considered a suspect of criminal activity when we go for a walk or jog on a Jackson city street. Our children are not in danger of being shot on a Jackson playground because they chose as a toy that morning a plastic gun to play with. We will never be held in suspicion and fear because of the tone of our skin. We will never experience being treated as a second-class citizen, not quite a full American, from birth until the day we pass from this earth.

The phrase "Black Lives Matter" speaks to a situation that because of the color of your skin you are considered less of an American, less of a human being, and that the loss of your life is somehow considered less of a loss in the eyes of our society. The inability to recognize the meaning of the phrase and the context in which it is used speaks to the privilege that allows us in Jackson County and white society to either not recognize the plight of other Americans because it is so remote from our own existence, or to just not care.

I have also read on social media posts calls for getting back to unity, getting back to normal, getting back to being Americans. If this had truly been a united and equal America before, the one that people want to get back to, why then was twelve-year-old Tamir Rice shot to death playing with a toy gun on a Cleveland playground before these protests?  Why was the normal we knew that an unarmed Ahmaud Arbery who stopped while jogging to look at a construction site shot to death because he was thought to be a thief? Why was the normal we knew that a law-abiding Breonna Taylor, a first-responder, shot nine times in her own apartment? Why is the normal we knew that other Americans face verbal and physical abuse and outright loss of their lives because of the color of their skin?

We, as a people, are at a moment in our history when we have an opportunity to right wrongs inflicted on other Americans. To take attention away from it by claiming that white Americans face the same suffering and plight as African-sAmericans is to rationalize and excuse the ignoring of it. We need to look beyond our own lives that allow us to ignore the suffering of others.

 Dennis Reinhart, Jackson