Black Lives Matter – Really?
One of the most horrible things about political correctness these days is that it makes it hard to express a contrarian opinion or to offer what I would consider helpful advice. It’s easy to get shot down with the old “that’s racist!” drubbing that comes from pointing out things that are perhaps so obvious that nobody wants to talk about them. Such is the case with the angry concept of “Black Lives Matter” (aka #blacklivesmatter hashtag).
Note: I just want to say that as I finished writing this piece, I could truly see that the line between racism and reality is pretty fine. I am sure that most black people (like everyone else) just want peaceful, happy lives. I am also realistic enough to know and understand that much of the misery of that community is self inflicted, with black on black crime, drug selling, intimidation, and murder being a shocking and overwhelming source of much of the endless misery in the community. Nothing that I am saying here is intended to be racist, you can replace “black” with “all people” for the most part and get the same results. It’s all about yourself in the end.
First question that comes to my mind is “don’t all lives matter?”. I personally think that it’s incredibly self defeating to yell about racism on one side, and then create an exclusionary group based on race to stand up for. I think that #AllLivesMatter would be a much more appropriate stand. It would be much more inclusive and much more satisfying for everyone. I can relate to my life mattering, and that your life matters too. I get less connected and less confortable with the idea that only Black Lives Matter. If you want to stop racism, stop grouping yourself by race. It just makes it way too easy for people to paint a target on you.
The second question is harder: “Do Black lives REALLY matter?”. I know. Asking that question sounds insanely racist, but the intent is not at all racist. The question isn’t meant to be asked to the world as a whole, but rather to those black people pushing the “Black Lives Matter” rhetoric. Do people’s lives really matter, or does your ability to stand on national TV and decry all sorts of injustices (real and imagined) against “my people” matter more? There seems to be way too many people looking to get in front of a bandwagon and raise their own public profile as a result, without any actual intention to improve the lives of the people in general. The Black lives matter perhaps only as a backdrop to political ambitions or personal fame. That truly sucks.
The third question is the hardest of all: “Does your Black life matter?”. I direct this one at the people holding the signs, chanting, complaining, rioting, looting, and doing all that sort of thing. It’s the most important question of all, because it raises the issue of personal responsibility and personal actions. It great affects my ability to be behind your cause (or the better cause of #AllLivesMatter).
In a nutshell, that question is about self worth and self control. If your life is worth something, why are you looting? If your life is worth something, why do you tolerate your neighbors and friends looting, rioting, destroying public property, and the like? Does your life matter if your moral standards and your respect for your community is so low that this sort of thing is a perfectly acceptable way to live?
The problems of these people’s lives is as much their own doing as problem of police or other authorities. As a communities, as families, and as individuals, these people need to make choices that show that their lives matter. It’s an attitude thing, it’s a lifestyle thing, and it’s a personal responsibility thing. The authorities disrespect the people because the people disrespect them back. It’s a loop that feeds back on itself over and over again. The children of the community are trained from a young age to not trust authorities, to not trust each others. Black on black crime is a real issue, and the “snitches get stitches” mentality means that most people are unwilling to stand up to the bad people who cause the problems, and instead tolerate it, live with it, and even tolerate it from their children and family members. Tolerance and the blind eye mean that the worst people of your community are the ones representing you, the ones that form the opinion in the public’s eye, in the policeman’s eyes, and in the legal system’s eyes.
Black lives should matter, just like All Lives Matter. They only matter as much as the individual and the community want them to matter. Making those lives matter starts with the individual, the family. With too many “babies having babies” (underage or just barely adult parents), with too many broken families and baby mommas and whatnot, those lives have a hard time mattering when the parents themselves aren’t yet really grown up enough to take responsibility for themselves and matter. Lives matter because you make them matter, make them count. It starts somewhere, and here is as good a place as any. Take responsibility for yourselves. Take control of your own lives. Make your lives matter. When you decide that your life matters, the rest of us will gladly agree with you and support you all the way. I can’t think your life matters very much as you run away with toilet paper rolls out of a burning pharmacy to take home to your kids. Make your life matter, and we will all matter along with you!