This post will be on a subject that is annoyingly touchy: the phrase “Black Lives Matter”.
Not to be confused with organization called Black Lives Matter (whose existence I was unaware of until a couple months ago) that I don’t pretend to be a part of, nor do I align with all of their tactics.
When people say “Black Lives Matter” or use the hashtah #BlackLivesMatter, a large number (perhaps the vast majority of people) see it as a declaration of superiority or singular importance. This is bot the case. That interpretation is nothing more than a failure of your reading comprehension brought on by bias. You can argue with someone else on this point. Nothing in this 3 words indicates “only”. You may want the statement to indicate such a thing, but it’s not actually there. Which leads me to my real point of this point of this post…
How many of you believe a Black person (or any other person that grasps the concept and tries to correct your incorrect assumptions) when they tell you what Black Lives Matter means? Why would you argue with people who created and use the statement about its meaning? Why is it impossible for you to accept that you’ve misinterpreted the statement and they knew what they meant when they said it?
The English language, for all its shortcomings and nonsensical tendencies, does a great job of providing context and allowing speakers and writers to express themselves completely.
The statement “Black lives matter” is a complete expression. It says everything the speaker/writer intended to say. The message need not be analyzed much to be grasped. The lives of Black people matter. That’s what it says. That’s what it means.
Somehow, people decide the statement is actually means “Only Black Lives Matter” or “Black Lives Matter more than anyone else’s lives” or some other divise (incorrect) meaning. This is a failure to comprehend what you’ve read/heard. It is a personal ineptitude in interpreting the English language, proven by the popular counter “All Lives Matter”. If you truly believe all lives matter, you shouldn’t have a problem with people saying “Black Lives Matter”. Black lives are part of all lives, so you can just agree that Black lives matter. If you actually believe all lives matter.
But why can’t you agree? Why can’t you accept the statement “Black Lives Matter”? Why have you decided that anyone who says” Black Lives Matter”is a terrorist or has no respect for anyone else’s lives or don’t actually value Black lives? What is so threatening about a proclamation of the imprtance of Black lives?
A professor responded to the accusation that Black Lives Matter is an exclusionary statement by saying that it is a focused statement. There is a huge difference in focus and exclusion. Focus can lead to exclusion, but to assume it automatically leads to exclusion is folly. It is, in this case, bias against the chosen focus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with declaring the importance of a specific person/race/nationality/culture/etc. when it is that specific person/race/nationality /culture/etc. that has been impacted. “Pray for Paris” is not a call to ignore the problems in any /every other part of the world. “God bless America” is not the damning of every other nation in existence. It seems that most people understand this… until “Black Lives Matter”.
Why does the cognitive dissonance kick in with that phrase? What stops people from understanding why we say that when we say that?
Don’t blame the media. You are (most likely) an adult. You have your own mind. Why do you allow yourself to see Black Lives Matter as an attack on anyone that’s not Black? Why do you see it as an attack on police (who, by the way, can also be Black)? Why are you so appalled and repulsed by Black people vocalizing what everyone should feel about themselves? Why can’t we say our lives matter? Why can’t we expect and demand to be treated fairly when we feel we’re being treated otherwise? Why would anyone feel the need to try to check a Black person for that? Why do Black people “need” to focus on anything else before we can focus on the importance of our lives? Who are you to try to tell us we don’t believe in the importance of our lives as a response to us telling you that we unequivocally believe in the importance of our lives? Why would we lie about that? Why would we lie about thinking our lives matter? Do you believe our lives don’t matter? If so, clearly all lives don’t matter to you. If you think we have issues in our communities that need to be addressed, you’re right. If you believe these issues mean we can’t say “Black Lives Matter”, you are a piece of shit masquerading your apathy/antipathy towards us as concern for us.
No human is perfect and there’s no way an entire group of people will be perfect.
Perfection is not a prerequisite to being treated like a human being.
Especially not by civil servants like the police. If it were, we would all be getting shot by the police for resisting arrest, running away from cops, being in the presence of cops. Because none of us are perfect.
If it were, we wouldn’t have due process for anyone. We would live in a society where the police officer is the judge, jury, and executioner for every citizen. There would be no recourse for a police officer taking your life, even if it was under questionable circumstances. Because none of us are perfect.
You would die and be villified no matter what. Because none of us are perfect.
Your killer would be sainted and made rich solely because he killed you. None of your killer’s peers would try to stop him/her,either because they couldn’t or because they were afraid to try our because they liked that your killer killed you. You would not be free. You would not have value. You would not have justice. You would not be valued. You would not matter. Because you are not your killer. You were you and you were worthless. And your killer was priceless and above reproach; a demigod in the eyes of the disconnected, protected, apathetic or antipathetic.
You would either lose your own sense of self worth of you psychosomatic your worth and take a stand to make others recognize your worrh. That worth would not be recognized unless focused upon.
The worth of all things when all things aren’t being undervalued is not pertinent to the undervalued who seek justice. The worth of the undervalued must be focused upon. It must be clearly and emphatically stated.
So, again, why can’t you accept that?