There are too many news stories about racial tensions in the United States; violence, murder, and destruction of property amidst the chaos of racially charged events is putting unnecessary stress on this nation. The Black Lives Matter group is usually connected, if only because the group has created a strong and unifying rallying cry for black Americans; Black Americans who feel the current system has betrayed them in one way or another and needs amended. The BLM movement has successfully brought many black Americans together as well as some white Americans, yet it appears to be a tense relationship at the moment. It's not unifying the nation, only part of the nation. Many people see the Black Lives Matter group and their approach as divisionary and even anti-white, and have chosen to use the term "All Lives Matter" as a counter point to theirs. These have met with vicious verbal attacks and further negative treatment, with the social media sites detailing the ugliest parts. In fact, some people have been punished for even saying "All Lives Matter" and have been forced to undergo diversity training. Anything that is forced usually doesn't bring about positive change and often makes things worse.
So, America, what are we to do?
Here is a suggestion - What if the movement changed their name to "Black Lives Matter Too?" It's an inclusive way of communicating the concerns black Americans have but removes any perceived division between black Americans and other races. It promotes equality, and is anchored in our Constitutional values as a nation. I don't know if it will work, but unless we all face the facts of our reality, change how we speak, how we act, and how we respond to people of different races, we'll continue to be faced with the same problems we have today. Speaking for just myself, I am tired of America being divided and having those pieces pitted against one another in non-productive ways.
I believe that is an excellent idea Ralph, but sadly doubt it will ever fly. During this election cycle the racial divide is a huge bargaining chip and vote getter for our worthless politicians.
I like the idea of Black Lives Matter, Too but after reading their six point plan I'm not sure they'd agree to that.
That's already what's it's shorthand for. Shame that wilfully ignorant people keep misinterpreting it as Only Black Lives Matter, but that's not the fault of Black Lives Matter.
I always thought that too. Until I read their sox point demands.
Perhaps those "willfully ignorant" folks are willfully interpreting it based on BLM's public actions and statements. I can also see where those same folks might have read that shorthand to be 'Black Lives Matter More, (my reading of the tea leaves), rather than only Black lives matter. If so, considering the recent release of that platform Live to Learn spoke of, perhaps their ignorance might be more from misinterpretation than willfulness.
My visit to their website left me with the distinct impression of borderline militant activism. Beyond my public media exposure to the movement, (which has not been favorable), that impression was reinforced by an interview with one of the movement's founding ladies.
... David Brown, Dallas police chief made a public offer to work with BLM to tackle BLM issues.
.... One of the founding ladies replied that she did not want to work with the police, she wanted to change policing. Included in those six points mentioned, was an explanation of just what she meant.
That is what I stand on when offering the above interpretation. Another 'perhaps' might be that the application of shame and responsibility could be more correctly placed.
Yes wilfully ignorant. If people are capable of posting on a forum, then they're capable of using the web to research something they don't know (that's the ignorance part). As opposed to making assumptions based on their own preconceptions, then wallowing in their ignorance, despite being told by the people affected by racial bias that they've misinterpreted something (that's the wilful part).
It doesn't matter what those people have "read that shorthand to be". That reading is wrong, and they've been told it's wrong, again and again. So there's is no excuse. The following comes from a thread on Reddit called "Explain like I'm 5". I found it in less than 2 minutes. If I can, anyone else can. So "perhaps" you should read it and digest it. And "perhaps" you should start listening to what people are saying about their experience instead of trying to explain their experience to them. Then "perhaps" you won't be one of the ignorant people spouting nonsense:
"Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment — indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any!
The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.
That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.
The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn’t work that way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn’t want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That’s not made up out of whole cloth — there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it’s generally not considered “news”, while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate — young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don’t treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.
Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem." (*)
(*)https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimf … eone_says/
That's a fair explanation Don W. But it doesn't follow the actions and statements of the movement and its supporters - as most publicly seen. It also does not sound like the explanation of the movement and its meaning as explained by its founder(s) - at least as I read it. Even if someone takes the time to checkout some of the available information before forming an opinion, (ie. reading the shorthand), as I did, I can see the likelihood of a different perception than you explain.
You are correct that I had a preconceived notion of what the movement stood for, based on the media coverage I had seen. It was not a good opinion. My efforts to find out, (ie. good ol' Google), more about them found nothing to change my opinion.
If it appears to be easy to misunderstand the movement's meaning, based on available input, then I think my earlier offered possibilities are valid.
At least I did try to find out more about them before accepting my negative impressions, so can I at least be unwillfully, (yeah, I know, SP?), ignorant? Does that effort save my thoughts from being nonsense? Even it does not agree with what you claim is the obvious truth?
ps. I did read part of your link. It did not change my perspective.
The hashtag means Black Lives Matter (too). There's nothing difficult about this. That is what it means.
The movement itself, like every social movement, is an informal group of organizations, made up of diverse subgroups and individuals. The actions of the groups and individuals that align under the umbrella of the BLM movement, reflect those diverse groups and individuals.
As with Occupy, and the Tea Party, the actions of the groups and individuals within a movement can differ, and are sometimes contradictory, but the core principle remains: an end to economic inequality in the case of Occupy, lower taxes and reduced government spending in the case of The Tea Party, the idea that black lives matter too in the case of Black Lives Matter.
That's all there is to it.
Damn Don, do you think the possible perspective I suggested is so out of wack that I needed an explanation of how things work?
It sounded as if you were saying no organization can control all the mavericks in the coral. Does that imply some of the negative perceptions might be justified?
Your perspective suggests you are focused on the delivery mechanism and not the message. Your criticism, and that of the opening poster, amounts to: social movements are imperfect mechanisms for delivering messages.
Thanks, but that's not a revelation. History tells us that social movements can be extremely messy, muddled affairs. We (society) can either sit around stating the obvious (BLM is messy and scrappy, like every other grassroots social movement in history) or we can address the message that's being delivered.
The message is clear and simple. Black people's lives matter too. It's a response to current social conditions, where the lives of people with brown skin matter less than the lives of people with white skin. That should not be the case, and it needs to be addressed.
Focusing on the imperfect nature of BLM as a delivery mechanism for that message, is a way of dismissing the message, and avoiding having to address it. Let's stop stating the obvious and start addressing the issue.
Don W., you give me way too much credit. My perspective was exactly as I described. I don't know what route you took to get there, (those parts about delivery mechanisms and muddled affairs), but the depth of my perspective was nowhere near as deep or analyzed as your evaluation of what my perspective really was.
And I needed a history lesson? I am concerned regarding your apparently low view of my abilities. You have offered nothing more than your opinion and rationalizations to insist that I, (or at least my perspective), am misguided, (at best), and you are the obvious truth. I expected firmer ground from you.
Still, there might be at least an appearance of progress towards an understanding of the reality concerning the point of the discussion. Now BLM is "messy and scrappy," in addition to being unable to control all factions under its umbrella.
We might be on the way to an agreement that BLM is responsible for its movement, message, and, the public's negative perception of that message.
The core message of the BLM movement that I'm putting forward is based on what's written on their website (quoted above), and other sources that are available if you care to look (including the words of the people who founded the movement). That's not my opinion.
You keep commenting on the fact that the BLM movement is an imperfect method for delivering a social message. So what? That doesn't invalidate it's message, and it doesn't serve as justification for not addressing the issues it raises.
Negative public perception or not, the BLM movement has become a focal point in the discussion of racial equality and continues to publicise (and therefore raise awareness of) the issue, as the existence of this thread demonstrates. It doesn't take a history lesson to know that's one of the ways social movements work.
Don, As mentioned, I did visit and read their site. As also explained, it was my reading of the material on the site that helped form the foundation for my perception of the movement. It appears obvious you perceived a different message than I, but I did care to look. And it was some of the words of a founder, (once again, as mentioned earlier), in an interview that helped firm the foundation of my perspective. I also looked at multiple affiliated and related sources - same impression. With all that, I believe I fail to qualify for the willfully ignorant designation, so yes, I do think it is your opinion.
I did not refer to the BLM movement as an imperfect method, I described my impression of it as borderline militant activism.
I disagree that it doesn't matter whether the public opinion is positive or negative, but I do agree that the BLM is bringing public awareness and discussion of the issues. I do think it is important how a message is perceived by the public. The effects of BLM's message perception might be compared to those of Donald Trump's campaign against political corruption and lack of political integrity.
I do take your point about history and social movements. It is full of famous names and causes on both sides of the ledger.
If by "militant activism" you mean violence, then I point out the numerous statements the BLM movement has made condemning violence. If by "militant activism" you mean vigorously active, and politically aggressive, then I point out that political activism is a legitimate means for ordinary people to create social change. The civil resistance campaign in the the civil rights movement era is an example that resulted in positive change.
My issue with yours and the OP's criticism is that it amounts to criticising the BLM movement for not meeting your expectations of what it should be. But whether it meets your expectations or not is irrelevant. If it's message (black lives matter) is morally right (it is) then the most pertinent question is "how can we transform 'black lives matter' from a hashtag into a social reality?" not "why don't they change their name?" as the OP suggests, or "why aren't they less militant?" which I assume is what you are driving at.
Yes, the BLM movement, imperfect as it is, is filling a vacuum created by the inaction of mainstream politics to tackle race-related issues that need to be addressed. It could be argued the Trump campaign is serving the same purpose. The difference is that the messages coming from the Trump campaign (e.g. the "textbook racism") are morally repugnant, and perfectly illustrate why the BLM movement is needed. If anything Trump and his campaign are fueling the rise of the BLM movement.
Don I am tempted to search for that meme I saw about beating a dead horse, but I understand, by your frequent assertions, that we may not be talking about the same thing.
I have never intended to imply or say that I do not agree with the need to address many of the issues BLM stands for. My point has always been that the reality of BLM and its platform issues is not what you and like-minded folks say it is. Of course that is just my opinion, but as we have discussed, I think there is valid support for that opinion.
Defending the BLM as "imperfect," "messy and scrappy," "or just a "delivery method" seems to illustrate that we may have reached a partial connection. If my perspective is viewed as a criticism of BLM, and not all of its core issues, we might end up mitigating that shameful and willful ignorance you described.
As for comparing BLM to Trump's campaign ... Hmm ... That is one I did not expect. Would that be a comparison of valid issues improperly delivered?
The only criticism you've made that's specific to BLM is: "My visit to their website left me with the distinct impression of borderline militant activism". I don't know what you meant by "militant activism" (still don't) so I addressed the two main possibilities I can think of.
If you think their messaging is imperfect etc. fine. But show me a grassroots social movement that isn't "imperfect", "messy and scrappy" in their messaging and organization. That's a common characteristic of all such movements. So while you're free to criticize BLM for that, you're essentially criticizing a grassroots social movement for being . . . a grassroots social movement. Can't see the point.
If you disagree with what the BLM movement is (". . . an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression") or its underlying assertions, then that's not an issue with their messaging. You just don't agree with their message. That's a different thing.
On reflection Trump is a probably poor comparison, as that's a campaign rather than a social movement. The Occupy movement is probably closer to BLM. I've previously used the Tea Party as an equivalent on the right, but the machinations of the Koch brothers leaves plenty of doubt as to whether it was a genuine grassroots movement, so I won't make that comparison.
Don, I don't disagree with what you say the BLM movement is; ". . . an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression...", I disagree with what the BLM says its movement is. And if the BLM platform is to be taken as the BLM message, then I disagree with its "underlying assertions" also.
I am not criticizing grassroots movements as a vehicle, I am criticizing this specific grassroots movement organization, (BLM).
The BLM's message that black lives matter includes demands; for reparations, for ignorance of criminal behavior, for removal of non-community police authority, removal of the education system's discipline options, and more.
As a non-person of color, reading BLM's platform slammed the door on any thought of supporting it. The message I got was that black lives matter more. So we are right back where this conversation started. I do not think the BLM movement is what you, and other like-minded folks, say it is.
I think my opinion is valid because my search for its foundation did not return the message you claim to be the movement's message. From my perspective you have provided no contradicting information other than saying I am wrong. I don't agree.
I also don't see a positive outcome for a point-by-point debate of what I say something says and what you say it really says, so maybe we should just drop our sticks and let this horse rest in peace.
The fact that some people are so unsettled by an unapologetically black movement, is one of the reasons such a movement exists in the first place. But you're right, it's academic. BLM needs neither the approval nor understanding of you and I, in order to thrive.
If that's what it means - then why didn't they say it? Your entire argument is your opinion.
Why didn't they say those exact words? Because the groups and individuals who form the Black Lives Matter movement are free to express their message in words of their choosing, just as you are free to say that you don't understand that message, or find it confusing.
What you don't get to do though is define the movement according to your own misperceptions. Finding out about the messaging of BLM is not difficult. Unsurprisingly that information is on the "about" page of the BLM site:
"When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation."(1)
If you interpret that message as only black lives matter, then you need to know that you're wrong, and perhaps you need to do some more searching, asking and listening, before you start "suggesting".
"What you don't get to do though is define the movement according to your own misperceptions."
Neither do you.
"When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation."
We are broadening... Black people are intentionally...We are talking... Black lives are deprived... Black lives are no longer...We affirm our contributions...our humanity...our resilience We have put... love for Black people... ALL Black lives...
Not a single reference to human lives, human contributions or anything else relating to people in general. "WE" does not refer to humanity, but to black people ONLY, and your misinterpretation cannot change that.
"Neither do you." Exactly right. That's why I've taken the time to understand what BLM means, and why people are involved in it. I've done that by talking to people who know something about it. And talking to people who are affected by the issues it raises. I engaged my ears to listen, then engaged my brain to understand. I think that's a better approach than simply presuming to know what something means, based on my own biases.
A social movement seeking to affirm black people's contributions to society, humanity, and resilience in the face of oppression, is not a social movement against white people, for whom those things are affirmed by default. It's a social movement against oppression. If you don't understand that, then you need to start listening more, and explaining less.
No, Don - you've gather an opinion from people that aren't running it about what it should be. What they want it to be.
And ignored the published literature, from the organization, about what it is. I would that you were right (even though it is still ONLY about black people), but it flies directly in the face of what their stated goals and objectives are.
While I do think your ideas were correct when it was started, they no longer are. The activists and rabble rousers are controlling the movement now, and the general (black) population is following right with it.
The views of those who founded BLM, and wrote the literature explaining what it means, are widely available. Their explanation of what BLM is, does not match your perception of what it is. If you want to understand BLM, don't read the published literature, then offer a meaning that completely disregards what the authors say it means. And don't be dismissive, based on the false and insulting assumption that people most affected by these issues can't tell the difference between what something should be and what something is. Stop explaining, start listening.
I mentioned the difficulties social movements throughout history have had staying focused, and received a subtle rebuke from GA Anderson for giving a history lesson, so I won't repeat the error. But such challenges are not uncommon, and do not invalidate the core message of BLM, which is about (as the founders of the movement continue to say) affirming black people's contributions to society, humanity, resilience in the face of oppression etc, or more simply put, affirming that "black lives matter". I'll take their explanation of what BLM is over yours, because I choose to accept the meaning someone else assigns their own experience, rather than impose my own meaning on it. That doesn't take anything from me. If anything, it affirms us both.
And you, Don, accept that the BLM is not what it was conceived to be. Read the literature being put out now instead of the founders vision, and then decide what it has become.
Truly, I cannot understand how you just ignore what is being said and done by the movement today. It is clearly not what it was intended to be, but wishing it were will not make it so.
A black movement, founded by black people, that affirms black lives and black people's contribution to society, is nothing to be afraid of Wilderness. Racial equality is long overdue. Don't blame people for being impatient for it to arrive and wanting to speed it along.
Didn't read the policy statement, did you?
Any movement, even one founded by black people, can very definitely be something to be afraid of. Or are you trying to say that black people are incapable of doing violence or founding/using a movement that does or espouses violence?
Don, I would beg to differ with your interpretation as would many other people (this is the reason why All Lives Matter became visible as a counter to the initial impression)
It's not an "interpretation". It's what people who are disproportionately affected by police violence, i.e. people of color, say it means. You and I don't get to define it. And we don't get to define what other people's experiences with law enforcement are, or what other people's movements (and their hashtags) mean. That's all part of the problem. Stop "explaining" to people what their experiences mean, and start hearing, not just listening, but hearing what people are saying.
You shifting the conversation - we were discussing the meaning of the groups name "Black Lives Matter" - you were giving the opinion that the "TOO" was implied. Without a clear definition, then people will always attempt to decipher things - so yes, we "do" get to define it in our own minds.
This is brilliant , except for one small issue .
Black Lives DID Matter -too ! Until somewhere around 2008 , when the racism FROM that one minority and no others , decided that somehow they were shorted more than all the others in the great "melting pot" of America .
Sad part is , when there are those who say "Race relations have been set back 50 years in America " by all of this stupid rhetoric .
They are right !
Black lives matter: YES THEY DO!!!
I am still wondering to this day who says they don't? oh... the policemen who must protect themselves from ANYONE who threatens their lives????
Your idea may be a good one, but I doubt that it will fly. As long as BLM continues to be linked to Al Qaeda or ISIS, the group isn't going to matter. They are subjecting themselves to losing credibility among whites and other people of color. They claim that they are doing this to point out disparities in racial treatment, but they need to disband, go home and quit trying to put the sins of the fathers on non-blacks. They have had 150 years to prove that they matter, and some of them have proved it very well, including some Black friends and coworkers of mine. It's mostly n'er-do-wells who want to march and protest, and if they put half as much effort into being productive as they do to protesting, they could be successful. There are some who have been unfairly treated by brutal police officers, but have you noticed that almost all of them have prior records? I doubt that a name change would help them much. All lives do matter.
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/06 … terrorist/
http://heavy.com/news/2016/07/alton-ste … ent-islam/
The brave men and women police officers who risk their lives going into high crime communities when needed to protect and server, where they are hated by the criminals, they are a group of people that cares about all lives. Generally speaking, there aren't that many people in this world that would be so dedicated for such little pay for a dangerous job ... and many times they are heroic. They are willing to lay down their lives for us.
All lives do matter, even the unborn!
When dealing with cops its best to show respect. Even if you don't feel it, well, especially if you don't feel it. FAKE it if you have to!!!! "Yes, sir." calmly and politely. and don't move till they tell you to. Don't even reach in your purse once they have approached you!
Yes, I learned this the hard way.
The black culture matters. There is reality. If you are part of that culture then you are responsible for representing that culture the best way you can. If your black life matters to you ...
Just remember, its all an illusion. Reality is in the invisible part in us all: our spirits which come from One Spirit.
…. which we all know, just to remind ….
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