Black Lives Matter
“Black Lives Matter”
In 2013, the term was coined in protest after the acquittal of the man who killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. the hashtag cycled all over the internet and the movement formed into an international human rights movement which campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
When I first heard it, I, like many, many others, felt a bit off-put by it. “Black Lives Matter? Um, shouldn’t it be All Lives Matter?” I was under that umbrella of rhetoric.
Actually, because I’m me, and I like being different, I was actually proposing the phrase, “Black Lives Matter, too!” Seven years later, it sounds like I was promoting a sequel or something!
I understood that minorities (specifically black people in this case) were disproportionately targeted by the police. There are many many reasons why that is, but I don’t feel like going into all that right now...
What I did wonder is that if I acknowledge those disparities, but didn't agree with certain aspects of the movement, Am I still "ignorant"? (seven years later, the answer's probably "yes"...)
By the time that whole wave of outrage passed, my stance was basically, “It’s really not my issue”. What I mean by that is very similar to my current stance on abortion: it’s not something I will ever have to deal with and so I will shut up and acknowledge that I don’t get to have a say in any side of the matter. I think the parties involved in those issues have a right to stand up for what they believe in and I have no right to stop them.
Now we are in that second wave everyone feared about. No, not COVID-19; Black Lives Matter protests! On May 25, 2020, the video of the live murder of George Floyd reignited the movement, and with a country bored out of its mind, ERUPTED!
In the beginning, I went back to the files in my brain to see what I thought about Black lives Matter. At first, I thought, "Well, you can't group all police", or "Yeah, that's bad, but still..." But, you know, after two weeks of riots, curfews, and vertical videos of evidence of police brutality swarming my very very small pinhole of access I allow myself on social media, I gotta say, my opinion on the BLM movement has definitively changed!
For one, I totally get the phrase now! I finally see the genius in that phrase! “Black Lives Matter.” How do you argue with that and not sound like a racist!?
“Black Lives Matter!”
“No they don’t! Er- I mean... shit...”
“Black Lives Matter!”
“Um, all lives Matter!”
“Yeah, including black lives!”
“Well then, you should say ‘All lives matter’!”
“Why should we, a mostly black community, have to clarify that?”
I must’ve missed it the last time, but it’s a lot clearer to me now. The black community is raising self-awareness. They’re not an advocacy group of "all lives" advocating for “all lives”. I truly feel stupid for not seeing it the first time.
The people who campaigned “Bernie 2020” weren’t condemned for not saying “Bernie 2020, but also all the candidates matter!”
[*I couldn't find a picture of it, but my favorite protest sign I've seen so far read, "I can't breathe until they can!"]
On a side note, the BLM movement has nothing to do with the looting. The looting is from the unprecedented (but also kinda very precedented) unemployment level in our country, and anyone who doesn’t see that can add 15 points to their racist level for associating the two.
Along with the protests, the rioting due to Coronavirus cabin fever has turned into a category 5 shitstorm and is really reframing the BLM movement even more for me. I now see that at its core, this is truly no longer a “Black Lives Matter” issue, but a systemic issue with law enforcement. And it just happens to be that the BLM movement were the ones brave enough to hit everyone (me included) over the head with the harsh harsh truth. As if I was living in some kind of matrix!
So the new way I see it is that BLM decided to fight for an issue, and since no one else was, they got to pick the slogan.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m too much of a coward to actually leave the house or anything like that, but from the safety of my home I'm rooting for BLM because there is something inherently wrong with how our country handles law enforcement.
You just can’t argue with this! You can’t justify every one of the countless pictures, videos, and first-hand testimonials as “Well, we just don’t know the full story”, or, “That’s just a few bad apples”.
There is something inherently wrong with how the cops are handling protesters. Even the riots are being handled too harshly, in my opinion. And shame on our racist bigoted president for not just not condemning it, but encouraging it and suggesting they increase force!
I’ve had people warn me “you better not go to those protests, because you’re putting yourself in a dangerous environment.”
Again, I wasn’t going to any protest anyways! I’m too lazy to leave the house. But tell me, why are protests turning into war zones? Why are exercises in the first amendment from one side turning into exercises of the second amendment from the other?
Answer me this:
Who came to the protest fully armed and equipped with guns, tear gas, and other enforcement weaponry?
Who is paid by the taxpayers to receive formal training on deescalating a tense situation!?
Who has gone through rigorous exercises to prepare for scenarios such as these?
Who is supposed to uphold law and order and serve as a symbol of justice?
In terms of Black Lives Matter, I now understand that I just won’t understand what they are going through, and that’s fine, because I see the importance of them fighting to get their message across.
In terms of police accountability, I understand that the job is inherently stressful. Situations can be skewed to fit a certain narrative, or what’s worse, accidents might happen. But we cannot pretend that it’s okay in ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to open fire on a crowd of protesters, or beat up on people with their hands in the air, or shove an old man onto the street, or force their weight on a man’s neck.
Remind yourself: who is holding a stick, a stunner, a firearm, wearing a helmet Bulletproof vest, has back up, and has trained for this exact scenario, and who’s scared for their lives?