Defining Black Lives Matter – Part 1
“We shouldn’t get too caught up in this notion that somehow people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow, automatically, anti-police, are trying to only look out for black lives as opposed to others. I think we have to be careful about playing that game.” Statement of President Obama
As a Pacifist, I believe that every life matters. For the last two weeks or so, I’ve watched town hall meetings with people speaking about the Black Lives Matter Movement. I listened. I learned.
After watching a town hall meeting on CNN called Black, White and Blue, I asked myself why are people who have had no experience whatsoever being discriminated against in America because of the color of their skin, arguing over the meaning of Black Lives Matter?
Each generation sits around the dining table and shares stories of their lives. They talk about the challenges and struggles. First generation immigrants had struggles, but Black Americans have had continuous struggles. Many of the struggles are because of laws, policies and procedures that were intended to keep people of color in their place. For example, employment is one area where systemic racism has resulted in the trickle-down effect where people of all races are now faced with student loan debt and low wages because of employers raising the bar for educational qualifications. But, that’s another subject for another post.
On a gun control basis, I could very well argue that the problem with violence and killings is rooted in the lax procedures for getting guns in America and particularly, assault rifles. The illegal distribution and selling of guns is like the distribution and selling of illegal drugs in America. The root issue is that those distributing and selling are not the people who are bringing the products into this country. Those caught with them are punished in the legal system, but the origination of drug traffic is never stopped. But, that’s another subject for another post.
On a political basis, I could very well argue that discretion to prosecute or not prosecute is decided by career-oriented State and District attorneys and not the people in uniform on the streets. Police make arrests all the time that state prosecutors decide not to prosecute. However, once the person is arrested, the damage is already done. Background checks drip from the trickle-down of the bar for educational qualifications that have resulted in student loan debt.
To most employers, an arrest is an arrest is an arrest. Their decision makers might not know, nor care to know the difference between a case dismissed by the state and an arrest resulting in sentencing. Any arrest can be the difference between getting employment or being perpetually unemployable. But, that’s another subject for another post.
There are many people who are uncomfortable with the phrase Black Lives Matter, and even more who outright hate the phrase. Tim Wise has approached this relating to Black Lives Matter, as Jane Elliot has when people say they are color-blind. Both believe that being uncomfortable seeing people as they are, or facts as they are, makes people alter what they hear and/or see into something that makes them comfortable.
Why should the phrase be “Black Lives Matter Too” or “Black Lives Also Matter” to make people more comfortable? It shouldn’t, and this is why.
According to Alicia Garza, co-founder of the movement;
“I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed.”
For those who do not know or need to be reminded, George Zimmerman was not a cop. Thus, Black Lives Matter was not originated because of a cop killing an unarmed 17-year old. It was not created and still is not an anti-cop phrase.
As a reminder, the first vote by the 6-women jury in the case of George Zimmerman was that one voted guilty of second-degree murder; 2 voted guilty of manslaughter, and 3 voted not guilty. The conclusion however, was that all 6 voted not guilty. After the verdict, two of the jurors interviewed with the media.
The juror known as Maddy, Juror B29, said that Zimmerman got away with murder because he killed Trayvon but there was no law to convict him.
Through a tactic that I refer to as bigotvoyantcy – the ability to see into the future and predict that had a person lived, they would have been a menace to society, Trayvon was put on trial rather than his killer.
There is something very wrong with a system that has no law to hold people accountable for killing unarmed people. Three women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi spoke up about that system. It’s the attitude that Blacks are not deserving of life that is ingrained in the system.
Can anyone name one person who has ever been arrested, brought to trial, and convicted for any of the more than 3,000 illegal White mob action lynchings between 1865 and 1968? See what I mean? It’s ingrained in the system.
Let’s fast forward from July 13, 2013 to now. What we have recently witnessed is a Baltimore, Maryland judge acquit three police officers for the death of Freddie Gray. It falls under the same category that there is no law to convict the officers for Freddie’s spine being 80% severed while in their custody.
On July 4th of every year, this nation celebrates Independence Day, but many forget that the very wording of the official document that declared America’s Independence says;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
When women were told they were too stupid to vote, were they accused of believing they are superior to men, or was it considered that their arguments were for equality?
Back in the 1980’s, the church I attended held a seminar on counseling. One of the things I learned is that in order to understand grievances, we must validate the feelings of the other person AND THEIR EXPERIENCES. Until we validate their experiences, we are impotent to give them advice and unjustly judgmental to tell them what they should change.
As an analogy, there are many men, fathers, who say that they understand what women experience when going through labor and childbirth. They are not biologically capable of giving childbirth, and so should never dismiss the actual experience. The worst would be to dismiss the experience of the woman in labor by saying something along the lines of, “Women have been having babies since the beginning of mankind. Suck it up and stop crying.”
Not validating her experience can lead to blaming arguments – it becomes her fault for getting pregnant, notwithstanding that she is biologically designed for that purpose through no fault of her own. Let me emphasize that — through no fault of her own.
So now, people are being blamed for being Black and the stereotyping is still alive and being applied.
For many days now, I’ve thought about the validation lesson and analogy and compared it to what I’ve heard from the opponents of the Black Lives Matter movement. Moreover, I’ve thought a lot about the opinions of those who are not comfortable with that phrase and prefer that it be “Black Lives Matter Too” or replaced with “All Lives Matter.”
I wonder. I wonder if during the murdering sprees of Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler, or Ted Bundy, had women taken to the streets with signs that said “Women’s Lives Matter,” would people dismiss it as saying that women believed themselves superior to men, or that men’s lives don’t matter? What if law enforcement was disinterested in arresting the killers, or they were arrested and all acquitted on the basis that their victims were prostitutes who deserved what they got?
Those holding white supremacist ideologies are attempting to define the Black Lives Matter movement, and it is their descriptions and claims that are perpetuating a greater racial divide than the one that has consistently existed in this country. In fact, their descriptions and allegations confirm the divide and historical injustices against Blacks in America. So many Whites unfamiliar with that racial superior ideology do not know the root of the criticism.
“For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? 1Timothy 3:5, KJV
The old folks had a practical interpretation of 1Timothy 3:5. They would say, “Clean your own house first before telling others how to clean theirs.”
The late Dr. Martin L. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Well, all lives do matter, and I have earned the right to use that phrase because I report on victims and perpetrators regardless of the color of their skin, and regardless if the killer is a private citizen or member of law enforcement. What I don’t see are opponents to Black lives matter using “all lives matter” to advocate for justice for those such as Kelly Thomas, Ethan Saylor, 6-year old Jeremy Mardis, or Misty Holt-Singh, along with Brown, Black, Red, and Yellow citizens who are killed and the killer not held accountable. Until that happens, then get comfortable with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
In this series, I plan on approaching this issue head-on. People are saying that we need to listen and talk. Let’s do that.
Posted on 07/22/2016, in Black lives matter, civil rights and tagged all lives matter, Black lives matter, black lives matter too, discussion, white supremacist ideologies. Bookmark the permalink. 81 Comments.