White America’s Misunderstanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement
I truly don’t understand how it can be any clearer that the statement: Black Lives Matter does NOT imply that: White Lives Don’t Matter…it does NOT imply that “Police Lives Don’t Matter”…nor does it imply that “All Lives Lives Don’t Matter” – because they all do! That is not what those who are involved in this movement believe. Where do people interpret that such a declaration, which apparently is a very powerful one or else it wouldn’t be receiving so much grief, means or implies in it anywhere that ONLY Black Lives Matter? How does the mention of this single statement serve to disqualify the importance of all other lives? I have not heard anyone in this movement make such a claim. And last I checked, life doesn’t have a color.
The words BLACK LIVES MATTER seem to be piercing the unconscious minds of Americans who lay asleep in their own little dream worlds. Is it because it is such a novel idea for White Americans to mentally peruse? Why does it bother so many of them to hear this particular declaration? Are Black Americans not supposed to value their lives, and the lives of their seed in such a way? That is to say, in such a way that White Americans value their lives, and the lives of their children and loved ones? A valuing that ultimately elicited the construction of a police force that would protect them from their perceived fears of Black people being a threat to them? In many people’s minds, the majority of which appear to be white Americans, this declaration does, in fact, mean that what those who declare it really intend to say (in secret, I guess) is that no one else’s lives matter, except for Black lives. And I just don’t get that – it simply isn’t true, and it isn’t at all the intention behind the slogan. Are we really that deep-seeded in our racist ideologies that we cannot see that it means nothing of the sort?? We are. And this bothers me even more than all of the other foolery that is clogging up the American media airways, as the lovely tunes of ISIS threats and the dangers of Latino immigration from Central and South America, play voluminously in the background. It is utterly absurd!
The Black Lives Matter movement seems to be fiercely dedicated to achieving the goal of equal treatment of a race of people who have historically, as well as in modern times, been mistreated by both police and the judicial and justice systems that support them and legally allows them to mishandle people of color, primarily Black people. This can be seen in the disproportionate number of Blacks occupying American prisons versus Whites, and overwhelmingly for non-violent offenses carrying unfairly extensive sentences. When statistics show that Whites are just as likely, and more likely in some cases, to commit a crime and when convicted, receive more favorable sentencing. We are learning daily that this is a product of criminalization and dehumanization, which serves to enable the system to devalue the life of the dehumanized. This same tactic has been used over and over in America, as well as in other countries such as Nazi Germany, to create a pretext that would justify an annihilation of the dehumanized in accordance to a preset agenda of the dominant and prevailing power structure.
Here’s what I don’t get. There has never been a question as to whether or not White life matters – it is obvious that it does. From the beginning, everything in American society was/is designed to safeguard and cater to a world of White privilege. Let’s be honest about this. However, conversely, it is not so obvious that Black life matters just the same. Being that so much in our society has been historically designed to do just the opposite for Blacks – not to uplift but to oppress. You would have to be blind and dumb not to notice and acknowledge this to be the case. I have been observing the Black Lives Matter movement closely for about a year now, following the controversial murder of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, MO in August 2014. Let’s make note here of the fact that I felt the need to specify the “race” of these two individuals in this blog, as proof that even I am not immune to the disease of separatism that has polluted and plagued The United States of America since its very beginnings. A beginning which is known for its genocidal actions against this land’s native and indigenous people. I digress.
Community residents around a recent alleged shooting of a Texas deputy sheriff by a Black male (one of course fitting the same old description that has been used to demonize Black men in America for centuries), who had a long rap sheet of criminal activity trailing behind him – is attempting to link the murder to the activist activities of the Black Lives Matter organization – an organization that clearly seeks to end police brutality via augmented policing tactics and the implementation of modified public policies. This benevolent organization has been under fire since its inception, and is now being characterized as a hate group. Are you kidding me?! The commentary that people are making all over social media threads is mind-boggling to say the least.
The assailant in the aforementioned Texas sheriff incident had a history of several run-ins with police, and had resisted arrest on a few occasions during those run-ins, blah blah blah…Typical, right? Now I am not saying that none of this information is true or accurate, but it is certainly a song that I am sure so many Blacks in America, and quite a few Whites as well, are tired of hearing played like a broken record. Why can’t we just get our shit together once and for all in this country, so many of us are thinking! We are arguably the most educated, innovative, civilized (so we believe), prosperous, and wealthiest people on this planet, yet we are at the same time an utter shame to the rest of humanity. The Whites think the Blacks are the problem, and the Blacks think it’s the Whites who are the problem. When in fact, that is the problem – We have never understood each other’s plights, nor have most of us sincerely sought to. Yes, there is a certain plight that comes along with being birthed into White privilege, I do get that. But there is a serious struggle of life and death that comes along with being born with Black skin in America, and I have found that most White Americans cannot begin to wrap their heads around it; they’d rather avoid the conversation altogether. They don’t believe things are as bad as Blacks make them out to be. And on some level this is understandable. Why is all of this possible? Well…it is because collectively, we are fools. We are fools, who will buy just about anything and who continually allow ourselves to be ‘played’ by this recurring narrative that has been supplanted into our subconscious by the media, and with great frequency, I might add, in order to keep us from ever trusting each other. If we never learn to trust each other, we will remain divided. Without trust, we will never come together and move beyond skin color to finally see what is hiding behind the curtain of hate that is constantly being draped over our eyes. We are fools, I repeat. The police (not individuals but the collective psychological makeup of the police force and the profession as a whole), and their mentality toward the way they feel they can handle citizens, is a HUGE part of the problems we are facing in our society today. Their egos and arrogance too often blind them to this fact. Their loved ones are also oblivious to the severe damage these heroically hailed officers have and continue to cause between poor and Black community members and themselves. Their vast ignorance is the real culprit here. I’ll save the rest of my thoughts around that topic for another day.
So yes, White Lives Matter! Yes, Police Lives Matter! And yes, All Lives Matter! But what we are proclaiming here is that the lives that are not being treated and/or seen as though they matter just the same, do. Yes, Black Lives Matter! Say it loud and long together with me – BLACK…LIVES…MATTER! Yes, they do.
20 BradfordSpoke 15
Bradford Speaks is a Life Architect, Coach & Youth Speaker, who desires to wake up humanity to see a world that could exist if only it could employ more love and less hate and war. He seeks to speak to and inspire our youth to live at a higher level of consciousness, and to see themselves truly as their brother’s keeper. He is also an author and self proclaimed philosopher. You may visit his company’s site, Bradford Speaks Life Management, LLC to learn more about his work, to schedule individual sessions, or book him to speak to your youth organization.