Understanding Black Lives Matter

I think white folk are getting tired of the Black Lives Matter movement given many of their responses:

  • White lives matter
  • Police lives matter
  • All lives matter

Of course .those other lives are as important but to counter Black Lives Matter with that retort is dismissive, diminishes the importance of this new movement, and denies a part of American history that has seeped into today’s world:

  • White lives have always mattered in America
  • Police lives have always mattered in America
  • Black lives have always mattered less in America

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s did much to improve the American mindset regarding the value of Black lives: voting rights, educational equality, equal employment opportunities and housing discrimination were addressed. And most noteworthy, the brutal practice of lynching ceased. Mainstream America was lulled into the belief that all is now well for Black folk. Today the focus has shifted to the longstanding, unaddressed, discriminatory behavior of the police.

Black Lives Matter calls for the end of lawlessness by law enforcement.

Police lives have always mattered. We have laws that are enforced when a police officer is mistreated by the criminal element. But the Black Lives Matter movement is highlighting a truth that has long been covered up: law enforcement officers have not only failed to protect the rights and lives of Black Americans, but they have perpetrated brutal crimes against them under the guise of self-defense, and covered their actions with outright lies. The Blue code of silence is only now coming to light with the advent of the
body cam, smart phone videos, and greater press coverage of outlaw lawmen.

Parents of Black boys have an underlying anxiety whenever their sons leave the house. They instruct their boys in self-protective behavior if detained by the police for whatever reason, just or unjust. Don’t argue. Keep both hands in plain sight. Say Sir. Most importantly, don’t run.

Only last week in the nation’s capital, Jason Goolsby. a young Black student, following the rules of his mama’s upbringing, held open the door at an ATM, allowing a White woman pushing a stroller to precede him. And how was he rewarded for his chivalry? She called the cops, who took him down forcibly. And what was the complaint? Robbery fear.

I have observed a great deal of history in my lifetime and I continue to affirm that we are steadily moving toward a more inclusive and just society. Nevertheless, there still exist hidden and unpleasant truths which, like a festering sore, must rise to the surface, be addressed, and corrected. In these instances, Black Lives Matter serves as a voice for change.

 

 

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