Another Perspective on Black Lives Matter Philosophy
I know racism from what I see on TV and from what others tell me. I come from a conservative republican context and a world colored by that view. This Black Lives Matter thing is something that I recently started listening to. It, the philosophy, not the movement, contains elements with which I agree and disagree. I think I have a unique perspective on the BLM philosophy which I will describe below. It might not be what you expect. It might be exactly what you expect too!
(((((Black, African American lives are important.))))))
At first glance, it makes no sense to intimate such a thing because all lives are important. It is true. I could not wrap my mind around the concept at first because it never occurred to me that any person's life was not important. I come from a religious background and am a practicing member of my faith, which I adhere to religiously—no pun intended.
In my faith, all lives matter equally. As I understood what some of the people of the Black Lives Matter movement who I bothered to listen too, I saw something in society that I did not notice previously. I discovered that it is more likely for the media to show the dead or mangled body of a Black person than it is for the media to show the body of a White person. I thought this was absurd upon learning it. I have seen slasher movies where all the people are White and they are all killed in the most violent means!
However, if it were actual bodies, real bodies being displayed, would the media show them on TV? Generally, not. The bodies of people who do not fit the general idea of what constitutes an American citizens tend to not receive the same respect as what constitutes what America deems as normal. The problem here is not necessarily a Black against White problem. It is more a cultural perception problem.
In the movie A Time to Kill, a man, upon finding his young daughter beaten, raped and robbed of ever being a natural mother by two adult males, decided to take the law into his own hands and murdered those men in cold blood. The man was acquitted. Now, I do not necessarily agree with the verdict because murder is murder not matter the reason. I understand why the jury would not convict the man because I have children and would feel highly motivated to act in the same manner had one of them been beat, raped and robbed of a natural family.
The man, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, is Black. He killed two White men. He was expected to lose the case. He told his White lawyer portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, to win the case for him. He admitted that he hired Matthew’s character because he is White so that he could know how to manipulate the jury—not in so many words.
The following is the closing argument of the case by Matthew’s character:
I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That's not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes -- yours and mine -- and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded…
Now I wanna tell you a story. I'm gonna ask ya'all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.
This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up, and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on, first one then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure -- vicious thrusts -- in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to bear children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. So they start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw 'em so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones -- and they urinate on her.
Now comes the hanging. They have a rope; they tie a noose. Imagine the noose pulling tight around her neck and a sudden blinding jerk. She's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking and they don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck, and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge and pitch her over the edge. And she drops some 30 feet down to the creek bottom below.
Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body, soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood -- left to die.
Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl.
Now imagine she's white. (Source: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/specialengagements/moviespeechatimetokill.html)
The reaction of the court room changed at that thought. It also changed in me. Suddenly, because I imagined that the horrendous things those two men that Samuel Jackson’s character murdered did to that little girl happened to a White girl it was more tragic.
I recall how I felt afterwards. I felt pleased that the people, the White people in the jury could identify with what had happened to that Black man.
I felt convicted that the life of that fictional character did not seem as important until I imagined her as a White girl. Though the story was based on true events and therefore fiction, it elicited powerful feelings within me that helped me discover the White privileged society in which humanity exists; and how all of humanity to one degree or another perpetuates that global culture.
Did the quote above make you have more sympathy for the victim after reading it?
Being Normal is Being White
Not only do White people see themselves as what is normal in America, and it is true to the extent that there are more White people in America than any other race, but other races in America see it too! When Black people think about the average American, generally they perceive a White person representing it. The same goes for other minorities. The average American family is represented by a White Middle Class family from the suburbs. Not all people have that ideas I suppose, but that is the idea that is culturally portrayed. The average family in America is middle class and White. Culture is geared toward this majority segment of society though other cultural influences are growing. I assume that this is not only the perception in the United States of America. I would gather that all over the world the Anglo cultures are perceived in the same way that I suggest it is seen in the United States.
I do not believe that all of this is because White people are inherently racists. I do believe that it is because on a global scale, Anglo influences exist. Beauty, fashion, language, technology, education, art and many other areas of life on a global scale are all influenced by European culture. Most of what makes the world the way that it is now exists because of what the Europeans have done over the last 500 years.
North America and South America exists the way it does because the Europeans settled there. The racial constitution of the inhabitants of those nations exist because of European mixing from several nations. The languages spoken in North and South American are predominantly European. The cultures that developed in the Americas are based on European heritages with minor influence from other cultures.
The infusion of European culture exists in all the developed world and most developing nations. As much as people of color try to minimize White people in the entertainment industry comically, without White people the world would be a much bigger place with less technology. That’s another topic though.
Take a minute and consider all that exists because the Europeans wanted to explore. It all exists because they, Europeans thought they were superior to all other groups. That same superior attitude existed in other groups also, but the current most influential race of people is from Europe and they live in the United States of America.
Slavery ended when White people decided it was wrong and forced their slaveholding Whites to comply. Women, the largest demographic on the planet, did not have rights until White men decided it was time to allow it. Blacks were not given equal treatment until Whites decided they should allow it. When it comes right down to it, White people as a group opened the way for all people to be like them, White.
Why Black Lives May Seem to be Less Important
The only problem with Blacks in general is that Blacks are so physically different from other segments of humanity that it is impossible to see many of them the same way they see themselves. Hispanics tend to look like White people. Asians look more like Caucasians if only by the texture of hair. Blacks of African descent, all one Billion of those who claim it tend not to have the same hair textures. Because Blacks are so different, it is harder to identify with this group—unless they make efforts to appear more European.
Blacks straighten their hair to make it more manageable. Black women wear their hair in a manner that appears to copy White women. These women buy synthetic hair or human hair atop their heads and parade themselves through society. If any Black woman presents herself as she is, she is called ethnic—because White is normal in society. It is the standard.
In America, the so called Black culture is a derivative of European culture. Blacks speak English, French or Spanish in many African nations. The same is true for Asian nations, who (CHINA) pilfer technology from the European nations or their offspring (USA, Australia and such). Japan and Korea all took the lead from Europe in developing their nations into the powers that they are.
Now, it is a fact that many nations had power and technology before Europe did, but Europeans effectively took what they wanted from the other nations, improved upon it and conquered the world culturally and militarily—both in some instances.
So what does this have to do with Black Lives Matter? Well, until Blacks remind the majority group, the White people, of themselves, Blacks will not matter as much culturally. Blacks do not even matter as much to their own communities (many predominately Black communities) with the way they kill each other in gang wars and petty crime. Why should the rest of the world care when the Black people themselves do not care if they kill each other?
Black lives matter to me because I am Black.
My sons are Black. My daughters are Black. My wife is Black. My relatives are predominately Black. Black lives matter to those who are educated that all humanity matters regardless of groups. Black lives matter to those who believe in the God I know who is the Father of all humanity.
Apparently, when White people in America start to notice that Black lives matter, everyone else starts to notice too—especially other Black people. When White people start thinking of their sons being pulled over and shot for dare having an aggressive attitude for whatever the reason is, then will Black lives matter because they can identify. White people have a privileged place in society whether they want to acknowledge it or not. They lead, and the rest of the world follows. Black lives matter when White people identify with those lives. When they go to the same church and school or when they listen to the same music they identify. Knowing Black people and associating with Black people make their lives matter to White people.
So, if Blacks want their lives to matter, shouting is not the best way. Actually working with White people in a loving and caring manner will make it happen. Being their friends, true friends will make it matter. Combining the communities will make it matter. Especially in America where Black and White cultures tend to be more similar. Socioeconomic cultural identities are similar across the nation. The poor know what it is like to be poor; the middle class know what it is like to be middle class, and the wealthy know what it is like to be wealthy across color lines. Whites cannot go some places without being accosted just the same as Blacks cannot go some places without some negative exchange.
The only issue with combine the communities and families is that Black and White as they are now known will slowly mix away into something else and won’t matter anymore because there won’t be any differing races to complain about.
I think I am being very vocal about perceived racism in America, at least on Facebook I may appear verbose anyway. Any discussion on race can have a polarizing effect. Friendships could end. Hatred can develop. I, however, have not experienced enough of racism lately to really identify what it is like anymore. Then again, I would not recognize if someone was being racist towards me, since it is more covert in present society and my apathy regarding the situation. But, I think about race each time I come into contact with a person. I wonder if that person is going to behave differently around me if my skin is a different color. I know I changed my behavior is such situations for many years—that is act differently around people differing in color and culture to me. I still do on occasion, though I have reached a comfort level where I behave the same in most situations around all races. I believe all of Americans are White acting for the fact that it is the predominate culture and heritage. In America, all of our cultures are similarly reflective of a European heritage—even the Native American cultures.
© 2016 Rodric Anthony Johnson