Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to stay away from politics and religion on social media. It isn’t to say that I don’t have an opinon on global politics, domestic policy or theological discourse; I’m just not one of those people who go back and forth with strangers via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (no judgement on those who do choose to do so). One person asked me if I was scared to put my thoughts out into the abyss of cyberspace, if I had a fear of people speaking out against me. The short answer is “no”, I have no fear of anyone else’s opinions, I’m strong in my beliefs and have no issue speaking on them when asked. If not wanting to bandy words with those that are militant, racist, facist and/or ignorant is cowardice then you can call me such and I wouldn’t care.
I say all this as a preface to what comes next. In the last days and months I’ve seen many Facebook posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Today I saw one about a correspondent on Fox News categorizing the entire movement as a ‘hate group’ and ‘murder movement’. And though I’m not surprised by this type of coverage from Fox News, I am surprised at how much hate against the Black Lives Matter movement has been generated. So here’s a combination “Grinds My Gears”/PSA post:
First of all, ALL lives matter. No one deserves to be beaten, brutalized or murdered. We are all deserving of justice and civility, no matter our socioeconomic status, race or anyone else’s perception of who and what we are. However, there are those in this vast country that feel and think otherwise. There are those who would deem that Black lives are expendable, disposable and nothing of worth. This country has seen Blacks ripped from their home countries and shipped across the Middle Passage as chattel. They have been enslaved, raped, beaten, tortured, denigrated, degradated, and had to fight for basic civil rights. From the first day that the first Black person set foot on the soil of this country, they have been deemed less than human and not deserving of the same rights as those who brought them here. Fast forward 150 years after the abolition of slavery, 61 years after the overturning of Plessy vs. Ferguson and 50 years after the enactment of the Voter’s Right Act and still we are called niggers in rants by civil servicemen and lay people alike on Twitter and Facebook. All these years later we as a people are still denegrated and terrorized by those who would and should protect us.
*As a footnote, I am not speaking of or making a generalization of all peace officers. Just like not all Black males have criminal tendencies and/or backgrounds, not all peace keepers are bigoted, racist or impart injustice on John Q Public. While I absolutely do not condone nor relish in violence against the police, neither do I condone police brutality. Revenge is not an appropriate response to the events of late, it just further widens the gap of racial and social discourse.*
When we consistently and repeatedly see Blacks being accosted and killed just because they are Black, it is no surprise that we have spoken up. When these sad and unnecessary deaths are caught on video and the perpetrators are not held accountable, we speak up. Sadly until you have been accosted, descriminated against, called nigger, black monkey or told “you are so articulate” in a tone that imbides that they are surprised that you have any command of the English language, you’ll never understand why Black lives matter.
If the power structure was reversed; if history was flip flopped and it was Blacks who enslaved Whites; it was Whites who had to fight and die for the right to vote and send their children to school; if it was Black police officers employing brute force, chokeholds, knees in necks and shooting of unarmed Whites, would you be so critical? Would you not stand up and say “White Lives Matter”?