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Another Perspective on Black Lives Matter Philosophy & White Privilege

Updated on September 3, 2018
Rodric29 profile image

POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES are ever with us. Gain perspective by reading what Rodric has to say about it.

Media and stories are my windows to experience racism, a circumstance of which I am not affected. The elements of my world are conservative of the past, religious, and family--Republican-leaning, though, I am Independent. This Black Lives Matter movement caught my interests as a reference tool to educate people. The philosophy, not the movement, has elements of lasting value to society. I have a unique perspective on the BLM philosophy which I will describe below that might not be what you expect. It might be what you expect too!

This article touches on life in Western society as I expose a piece of our culture we may not know exists. The answer to the question at hand is we need reminding that Black lives matter because we are aware subconsciously culturally White lives matter.

Black 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 citizen tends 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 of a cultural perception problem.

Source

Illustration of the 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 no 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 beaten, 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)

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Did the quote above make you have more sympathy for the victim after reading it?

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Intropectively Self-Aware

The reaction of the courtroom 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 afterward. 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.

Source

Conclusion

White privilege does exist. It, however, is not a White person's problem. The cultural perception of that concept is ingrained in each person in Western Society whether we want it to be or not. It is almost impossible to fathom the scope of change that would need to occur to remedy such a perception, an almost universal perception. If I, a Black man, cannot see the equal value of my Black Children compared to Whites, what do I expect the Whites to see?

© 2018 Rodric Anthony

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    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      2 years ago from Surprise, Arizona

      RTalloni, this is my family. The picture is quite old since my oldest is 20 years old and my youngest is 8 now. I am truly blessed with them, though, I don't always appreciate that blessing as I should. The advice that I tend to give, suggestions in some places are really calls to arm for me. My family is all the treasure I have. If I want to protect them, I have to take my own advice. I am so proud of my kids. None of them are doing what I want them to do, but they are all doing good things. They all, even the eight year old, have faith in Christ and are finding ways to follow that faith that makes sense to them. I love it when one of them comes to me or my wife and ask a question about a spiritual or moral question they have about something in their lives. It means that they are listening and trying to apply the teachings of Christ. I hope and prayer for them daily to develop a strong relationship with God. I know it serves me well. Thanks for the blessing. I accept any blessing that profits me in faith. Good luck with your other projects.

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 years ago

      First, thank you. I may write more from this post one day. Currently I am busy with other projects, but it's good to join discussions when possible because communicating often leads to understanding.

      Also, when the transforming power of Jesus in this day of grace is at work in our lives we are enabled to truly help others. Being able to ask Him for His help in that effort is the answer to our limitations and failings. I appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion.

      Finally, I've meant to mention how beautiful the family photo is at the beginning of this article. If it is your family (as it seems) you are greatly blessed. I'll take a moment to offer some advice... :) ... fathers (and mothers) need to be on guard against self-dependence and seek out God's wisdom in all things for each of their family members. The Lord bless you and yours with His richest blessings of grace and growth in Jesus the Christ.

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      2 years ago from Surprise, Arizona

      RTalloni, first off, PRAISE GOD! There is nothing more powerful than a testimony of Jesus Christs and His atonement for the healing of a person, community, nation, or world! I agree with you on that wholeheartedly. Christ is the answer for the ills of society if we would all listen to His words and follow His teachings.

      I respect that we all differ in beliefs. Jesus Christ is the God of this land and as our Savior, He points us back to the Father. Love one another is His counsel. I pray that we can do that--some of us if not all of us.

      Second, your comment would make a perfect article! This is one of those times where you take this comment and expand it into an actual point of interest for others to go to and make comments. Please RTalloni. Take this comment and expand on it into an article. It would be a good read.

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 years ago

      Having prejudices is defined as having an opinion not based on knowledgeable reasoning and it is commonly used as a synonym for racism. As with many words, there are layers to each of these that provide more insight into the topic. When our limited experiences, no matter how profound they may be to us, narrow the scope and scale of our insight into an issue our prejudices often multiply at an astounding rate.

      For the black people in your life to tell you that police protect white people and not black people was a terrible thing to do to you. Inaction of some white police in protecting black people when they could have done so is never acceptable, but those people’s thinking is not based on fact or reason. In spite of snapshots/videos that only tell a small part of the story in some people’s experiences, statistics on the matter tell the truth.

      There have also been black police who did not protect white people when they could have, but those certainly do not represent the majority of black policemen anymore than the white policemen failing to do their duty represent the majority. Zero tolerance for any who fail to maintain a proper perspective in their job should be the standard, but truth about a situation must be the first priority after an incident.

      Unity within police departments between racially diverse members is a good example of what we should strive for in communities. When there is disunity between those members, leaderships work to promote unity and deal with those who refuse to gain a right perspective. One of the problems with communities is that they frame their opinions about police departments by media representations without realize that the majority of media outlets promote disunity.

      So, profiling is judging others. Some people say it is wrong to judge others, but the truth is it is wrong to unfairly judge others. It is right to judge (profile, evaluate, or gauge) others for fair purposes, such as for the protection of ourselves or others. If a person chooses to look like a slob (as you mention) then they should expect people to profile them as one. That they want to be accepted and valued for being a slob is their problem. If they want to learn to do better for themselves, help is available, but if they do not want to do better then the consequences of that choice are something they must own.

      All that being said, there is a bigger picture, and that is the fallen condition of the human race at the root of the hateful, harmful, ugly, destructive sin in our lives and around us in this world. Jesus the Christ is the solution. As we read in Hebrews 1 that He is the radiance of God, the exact imprint of His nature, upholding everything by the word of His power. Jesus changes everything when a human turns to Him in humble repentance according to the counsel of His Word. There is no room for hatefulness, including the hatefulness of racism when we come to the end of ourselves and become true Christians.

      We need to prayerfully read and seek His help to understand His Word so we can make good judgements because there are those who call themselves Christians yet know nothing of what defines a true Christian. By getting His help to learn and live out the grace and wisdom of His Word Christians can become able to make good judgements about people and situations so we are not deceived, thinking we are wise but in reality only fools.

      Those who grasp and embrace God’s wisdom for the human race respond to all people, no matter their color, with His loving compassion. Racial prejudices become a non-issue for them. It is the reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus the Christ uniting people to Himself, bringing the diverse human races together. His violent death and victorious resurrection destroys what is dividing the human race by color.

      Yes, there are non-Christians who are not hateful racists, but without Christ's gospel they can only offer others something better than racism for this life. The moment we step into eternity is the dividing line. Oh that all would turn from self to Him for this life and eternity!

    • Rodric29 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rodric Anthony 

      2 years ago from Surprise, Arizona

      RTalloni, I am glad that you can answer honestly for no and equally outraged. I think it was the media that influenced me and the environment in which I was raised. I would hear the adults say things like, "Oh, it is White people over there. So you know they (police) will protect that."

      I was taught indirectly by many different Black Adults and Latinos that it only matters when White people are involved because then changes get made. Unfortunately for me, it stayed with me in other areas of life. I do not believe I passed it on to my kids, but I want to ask them. I hope there are not as many people out there like me, but I doubt it.

      Racism is not the word to use here. I am not racist. I do not believe many people are racist. Racism is to deliberately block privileges to an individual based on the race of that individual. Whether it is for hate or tradition.

      I do believe that people are prejudice in one form or another. It is not possible for humans to lack prejudice. It is in our DNA. We are racially prejudiced and prejudice culturally, we cannot help it but prefer our peers and culture above others. There is nothing wrong with Blacks preferring to be with Black people or White people preferring to be with Whites. I live in a society where I could be around multiple races. It becomes wrong when we take it to the level of excluding others specifically for the purposes of race. We also profile. I know I do. If a person is dressed in a particular way and uses certain language when speaking I tend to assume much. I will trust a suit and neat clothing before I will a slob with frumpy clothing. It is the way of things in society. I am a product of my culture.

    • profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 years ago

      As I came to your poll I could honestly vote no because I had equal sympathy. And also equal rage at the violent criminals.

      After finishing the post I asked myself why. Is it that I am a woman? Is this the difference between us that created appropriate sympathy in me but not in you? Is it that I grew up differently than you? I don't know, but I am glad you were honest about your assessment of how you felt.

      To say that all of humanity perpetuates racism to one degree or another is not truth, but I do agree that racism will always exist among some segments of society, including the black community.

      I am thankful for wonderful true friends of all colors, but the behavior of too many blacks toward me has taught me well that trusting all black people is as foolish as trusting all white people, or any other color of people.

      Something that needs much more consideration is the news media's representations of people. For instance, Chris Watts recently killed his pregnant wife and two daughters. The media continues to display his smiling face in family pictures, presenting him as a loving family man when obviously he was not.

      However, let's consider Melvin Harris, a hero. The news media shows his sad 2014 mug shot beside one of a proud criminal. I can find no smiling photos of this brave man who truly loved his family. No happy scenes with his family when he, in fact, has spared not only his daughter from any more interaction with this predator but other girls as well, because as surely as the sun shines in the morning that predator would have gone on to commit more of his special crimes.

      The media continues to use divisive tactics, including in their reports of the black lives matter movement, hiding the truth of how they were founded and what their purposes are, and how it is affecting society perspective throughout the world. What they are doing is worse than shameful, it is criminal, and we need to stop listening to them. We need to start thinking like grownups and standing up for innocent victims on each end of the spectrum.

      One of the saddest things about the news media is that they have the power to improve people's thinking, the power to support what is good and right, but they are so filled with hate that they cannot help themselves. A few feel-good stories does fool the masses, but we need to encourage each other to step back and look deeply into their tactics and then we need to challenge ourselves to stop being their sheep following what they promote.

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