Another Perspective on Black Lives Matter Philosophy & White Privilege
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.
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)
Did the quote above make you have more sympathy for the victim after reading it?
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.
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