Do Black Lives Matter?
Black Lives Matter
I read an article where Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Marissa Jenae Johnson said “white folks” should stop saying ‘All Lives Matter' because it’s racist."
In a Fox News interview she said, “White Americans have created the conditions that require a phrase like ‘Black Likes Matter’. Do you know how horrific it is to grow up as a child in a world that so hates you? While you’re literally being gunned down in the street, while you’re being rounded up and mass incarcerated and forced into prison slavery.”
No, most whites do not know what that is like. I also don't know what conditions I am causing that require your movement.
I do agree that Black Lives Matter; I don't agree its an entire race of white people fueling the need for the movement.
That being said, I understand where she is coming from; "All Lives Matter" as a reply to "Black Lives Matter" undermines their message. Their message is specifically addressing disparity in treatment of blacks versus whites, especially by cops.
Marissa Jenae Johnson’s statement blames this disparity in treatment on all 'white folks'' and in doing so ostracizes any other race than black.
Ironically at the same time, she cries for support and understanding. How can she expect a race to support her movement when she's blaming all of them for black oppression?
Does she realize that the white people she is attacking are partaking in BLM marches? Are supporting her movement?
Just as whites fought alongside blacks in the civil war, and just as they were part of the black civil right’s movements; we have always been there. Alongside you.
"We" are not "they".
We agree there's a problem, but you're making it hard for us to.
All Lives Matter
White people retorting Black Lives Matter with "All Lives Matter" is not necessarily racist, but I think it reveals white people's refusal to acknowledge the reality of black lives and continued killings by cops because they think it comes with some sort of required admission and acceptance of white guilt.
It doesn’t, unless you want it to. Supporting the movement simply acknowledges the number of unnecessary deaths of black men and children by cops. It’s real.
But I get why not all non-racist whites aren't openly acknowledging the issues. They aren't on the invite. In fact, her statement is bold. Black Lives Matter implies other lives don't matter. I'm not saying it does, but words are words and the message here is this: Whites Not Welcome.
This movement statement makes other races not feel welcome in supporting BLM. Unless entire races aren't continually blamed for the issues, opposition will ensue.
We are here. Can’t you see that? Why drive us away?
Tamir Rice's Murder
Bad Cops: Are They All Bad?
I am a not supporter of ‘all cops are bad’. That’s not the right approach nor isn’t a sound argument. I believe the majority of them are good. But they aren’t the ones causing the issues. It’s the bad ones who abuse their power to take lives when it is unnecessary.
When I saw Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy in Cleveland, gunned down a cop, I was enraged. I wept. I wanted justice. I didn’t see a little "black" boy who died. I saw a little boy lonely in a park, playing with a toy gun and cell phone who was murdered. I get why you need me to see his race BLM, but don't forget that I don't have to be the same race to agree with you.
These cops received a 911 call about a child with a potential toy gun in a park. They pull up within 10 feet of him and don’t give him any opportunity to respond. They could have easily stopped their squad car 150 feet away and issued commands. His life was taken before he had a chance to process what the cops were saying. It was murder.
Michael Brown's Shooting
But I don't agree that every shooting is murder. Race should not define whether you want justice. Actions should define that.
I don’t think the way Michael Brown in Ferguson was handled was inappropriate. He was fighting police, attacking them, and refused to cooperate. He allegedly went for an officer’s gun in the patrol car. I won't support a criminal whose intentional behavior and violence resulted in the police protecting themselves.
When Black Lives Matter rallies in response to the death of a black man who was attacking an officer, it dilutes your message. Support true victims.
Therein lies the distinction here. Focus on who is the bad guy.
It's not "all whites"
It's not "all cops"
It's the actual people committing these offenses against blacks.
Police Lives Matter
Far too many police officers die in the line of duty. When the situation such as Brown’s arises, I believe force must be taken. Do I think aiming for legs or non-fatal areas would be a better move? Sure, but I’m not a cop. I don’t know how they are trained or if that’s even possible when being attacked.
But that doesn’t make me racist. It makes me the type of person who researches facts before opining. My point to the above comparison is, nothing has to be ‘ultimate’. I support the good guys. Be they the cops or the victims. I support what’s right.
And that's why I support the truest form of the movement BLM., because the data shows blacks are killed unnecessarily more by cops than whites.
Data Doesn't Lie
In a year-long study, The Washington Post “found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.
Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic (2016).
On the flip side, I’m not a cop, I’ve never killed a person, and I have nothing against blacks. But the actions of some white and nonwhite officers should not be my burden to defend either. It’s not ok to blame all white Americans for the actions of bad cops. It’s also not OK to blame all cops for the action of fraction of them. Conversely, it is also not ok to fully support officers when there is clearly an issue at hand. And there is.
And that is where we are failing to come together. We are not focusing on the good guys versus bad guys. We are putting them all into little race boxes and telling people to pick one. Even though it’s about black and white, the approach cannot be black and white.
I do acknowledge the disparity in treatment, incarcerations, and deaths of black Americans versus white Americans. It is real.
I also don't blame just the black American's for creating unnecessary racism.
I think it was absolutely absurd for a lot of white Americans to state Beyonce’s performance at the Superbowl was racist. She wasn’t dressed up as a black panther, she looked more like Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation than a panther. I even googled it, where did this come from?
The words she sang weren’t racist, listen to the lyrics. Not one lyric is racist.
Now, is her video racially stirring and thought provoking. Good for her. These are things that should open up the doors of dialogue. Most confusing though, was the imagery in the video didn’t match the lyrics. There was no racist message in the music.
She's singing about being proud of her African nose, her designer dresses, her fro, and where she came from.
Imagery shows something different, a flash of graffiti with “stop killing us” appears, she is on a cop car sinking in the water, a little boy dances and cops put their hands up.
It’s artistry…if she feels that way, she feels that way. She's telling a story.
Her actual performance at the Superbowl had NO links to the imagery in the video. But tons of people had to chime in with assumptions and draw super sharpie lines between race and get offended because that’s what we do. We are sooo good at getting offended.
Some whites spoke out saying ‘we need to appreciate this and take a seat on the bleachers’ and let black do their thing. What? Get real.
WE need to stop separating ourselves as races and celebrate anyone who wants a better world.
I’m not sitting on the bleacher, Beyonce, I’m going to be partying with you and carrying hot sauce in my bag as well, because I’m proud of who I am too.
So why can’t people just acknowledge her pride instead of making up backstories and assumptions? Why do we continue to segregate ourselves? Both races?
White Americans are afraid by acknowledging something that is very real comes with a tandem white guilt package. It doesn’t. White people's refusal to acknowledge it fuels the fire. But so do the statements by people like Black Lives Matter’s co-founder. Why are you attacking those who could be supporting you?
I don’t feel guilt for the past, how can I? I took no part in slavery or black oppression. But I acknowledge it happened. That’s what matters. Acknowledgment from the BLM co-founder that her statements are ostracizing white people is necessary too.
I feel ostracized by you and you make me feel like I cannot support you.
Simply because you’ve already labeled me the ‘white devil’. You’ve made me feel ashamed of my skin color. See the double standard here?
This is the downfall in the movements to support change. Segregating and snubbing other races makes yours weaker. It’s a fact.
It is the very attitude that perpetuated Rich White Men’s domination over Indians, black slaves, indentured servants, and white slaves when they colonized America. It is the very segregation between races that fuel and keep them, 'the Elite', in power.
There are power in numbers, but not using that to your advantage, you tear yourself down.
Divide and Conquer
According to the US Census Bureau, Whites make up nearly 65% of the population, Blacks make up 12%.
Of those 65% Americans, let’s presume at least half are not racists (every race has them, admit it). That’s 32.5%.
Of the 12% of Blacks, let’s also presume half are not racist (come on now, I’ve read all the forums surrounding the BLM movement, lots of racism there too) So we have 6%.
Together, we have 38.5% of people who could share in the same goal of improving lives, and successfully seeing a movement to fruition. Instead….you shoot yourself in the foot and call all whites out, repeatedly.
Just as there were plenty of Northern whites who assisted in the Civil War’s commencement because of their convictions against slavery, there are just as many whites today who agree with you.
But you have to stop making us not want to help and support you.
Because what you’re doing involves the same ingredients as oppression. You’re tearing down a race because of color.
Don’t you remember history? Whites were not the problem.
It was the RICH who were the problem.
Rich white AND African elitists were who ruled us. US.
The white elitists were the 1%! Under their control they had women, slaves, indentured slaves, laborers, and poor white men whose land they owned.
They also gave the big fat finger to the American Indians….it was THEIR land.
How did they succeed for so long? By doing what you’re allowing them to continue to do right now. Segregate us. Divide and conquer.
The elite’s biggest fear was that one day, the low income whites, indentured slaves, free blacks, enslaved blacks, and the Indians would get together and unite in common cause.l
So they moved them around in different states, they separated the classes so they couldn’t speak. And it worked for far too long. And now, remnants of it are still working…today.
History proves that when our races unite, great things happen. Let me share a brief history lesson regarding repetition of the past.
United We Stand
First, the Spanish and Portuguese brought slavery to America with the agreement of Africa. Contrary to popular belief it was whites.
The search for wealth and increased trade led to the Spanish and Portuguese contact with West Africans and South Americans and eventually the North Americans also known as the Columbian Exchange, and what truly sealed the fate of our America (Brown, Clark, Hewitt, & Jafee, 2008, p. 13).
The West Africans were scholars, crafters, merchants, and had networks of kinship, agriculture production, and female dominated food production .They also used their own people as slaves for labor. West Africa encouraged trading which would eventually lead to its fate of a reduced population because the slaves that were sold and eventually stolen were young strong men (Brown, Clark, Hewitt, & Jafee, 2008, p. 29).
The European settlers came, waged war on resisting Indians, forced conversion to their religion, and infected them with small pox and other diseases. The European women were forced to work and whipped, even Europeans used their own people as indentured slaves in exchange for the passage to America. What a dream: The American Dream.
Each world involved was driven by greed: the Europeans seeking an easy life of handed wealth and free labor and land, the West Africans gaining from trade and slave purchases, and even the Indians profiting from fur trade and alliances to take out other tribes led to the demise of many, and the gain of few.
The Indians lost their allegiance to each other, women lost their power, and all lost many lives. The Europeans were dying of disease upon settling in America, and from warfare by Indians, but they stood to be the only players in the game who profited.
They settled and survived, took over America, commercialized it, using slave labor to build it and call it ‘their own’.
When poor whites were put on lower quality land or on land of Indian controlled territory, tension rose, attacks ensued.
Growing more and more discontented, the poor whites and blacks stood together side by side and fought the Indians.
The elite saw their power when together and recognized the threat of the numbers. The South was 6/7 poor and angry. The 1/7 wealthy stood to lose their power and wealth without control. They knew what forces the black slaves and white indentured servants and poor possessed together: Power.
In a strategic effort to desegregate the poor whites from the blacks, they chose a divide and conquer approach. Land access to freed white servants improved, investigations into their treatment ensued and new restrictions on black’s rights, and freedoms were introduced.
Black slaves were prohibited from co-habitating with white servants or marrying them, they were not permitted to carry guns, enslaved black women were not protected from rape, and the power of their masters was unrestricted (Brown, Clark, Hewitt, & Jafee, 2008, p. 81).
They even turned lighter skinned black slaves against darker skinned black slaves, even women against men, and young versus old.
“ You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves, and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves . . ." Willie Lynch in his disgusting letter “The Making of a Slave”.
They did the same with whites versus blacks, as well as classes within whites. Pit them all against each other. And it worked. Is it starting to sound familiar yet?
As their white counterparts enjoyed a few more freedoms, they did not think of the sacrifices the blacks were forced to make in their stead. Whites felt superior to blacks and thus the division began.
From there the elites enjoyed buying slaves and spending less, not giving up land at the end of the terms, freedom in punishment, and the colony prospered, along with the poor whites.
Although they had stood next to the slaves side by side sweating and starving, talking and living, the poor whites never looked back when benefits were provided to them, and thought only of their own rewards; they became to the blacks the very essence of the elites: selfish and superior.
And you see, the elites now feared less that rebellions would occur now that they relied more on black slavery.
As the US acquired new territory and Missouri won a slave state approval with a contingency that no states north of it would be permitted to be slave states, slaves were shipped west to expand cotton,but slavery import was now illegal. The population of slaves was spread out, and they were exposed to free blacks and northerners in industrial factories who vocally opposed slavery and threatened to encourage slave resistance. Heated debates between North and South regarding slavery ensued.
The elites controlled politics because voting and representation was tied to wealth and land ownership, silencing the voices of the poor whites. And although the poor whites were great in number, they too had their own classes within their general label. (Brown, Clark, Hewitt, & Jafee, 2008, p. 300).
This superior view and labeling system undid their greatest opportunity of binding together as one to force change more quickly. All involved were seeking higher statuses, more money, and stepping on those a degree below in attempts to get there.
While whites struggled for equality, fairness, and a greater sense of freedom and wealth, so did the slaves. They saw around them the breaking down of classes between whites; they saw the struggles and the changes surrounding the outlawing of slave import of 1808.
They were exposed to free blacks, disgruntled non-slave holding whites, literature published by anti-slavery northerners and they heard their churches speak of freedom and salvation. It planted a seed of hope to be watered with resistance, and resist they did.
As slaves prayed alongside whites, and were active in the Evangelical movement. Just as the whites' resentment grew for each degree of wealthier whites than them, so did the resentment slaves had for their owners for their abuse. Resistance began.
This behavior was culminated with the gradual emancipation of slaves as groups raised funds to send freed slaves back to Africa.In 1830 the Nation of Liberia was established on the West Coast of Africa to receive the freed prisoners, and many northern states spoke out by officially abolishing slavery as well. Hopes, dreams, and actualization of freedom was being birthed, and patience was running thin.
Whites paired with blacks and fought back against the elite. Many whites and blacks died for each other. For each other. Eventually, their united voice was heard. Slavery was abolished. Things changed.
What never changed was the elite’s efforts to insert barriers between races who share common goals. We still share common goals, we just need to unite.
Uniting takes understanding, acknowledgement and no "entire race" blame.
We need to judge the same people that impacted us upon colonization. The people in power. Whether it be police, politicians, media and the like, we need to unite and overcome.
Otherwise, we are divided and they continue to conquer.
The story has had the same ending for hundreds of years. We have to change it now.
To answer the article's question: Yes, Black Lives Matter.
And so does your approach to your movement.
"Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved through understanding" -Albert Einstein.
Do you think the Black Lives Matter group ostracizes other races?
Add to the Conversation
Now it's your turn, tell me your thoughts, your experiences, and how we can work together as one race?
About the Author: master of sarcasm, expert in taking blows from reality, cannot cook an omelet.To learn more, or view her work, visit her website here.
Brown, J., Clark, C., Hewitt, N., & Jafee, D. (2008). Who Built America. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.