Monday, October 10, 2016

All Lives Matter: A racist response to a race problem in America

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Photo courtesy Shutterstock

I don’t believe everyone who is a proponent of the All Lives Matter movement is simply racist, prejudiced, or ignorant because, on some level, they are right. Literally every life on this planet matters. Plant lives, animal lives, and human lives. Right now, we don’t need to be reminded of this fact because the country and the world are told to fear us, stereotype us as violent savages and criminals, and kill us.

The “All Lives Matter” thing feeds on a notion that racism is gone and there are people who are just oblivious to the world around them that want to chime in on a “race issue.” That’s fine, but this isn’t a race issue; this is a social issue. We all are bound by our experiences and perspectives. We all have our own personal pair of rose-colored glasses when it comes to what we want to believe. No one wants to truly admit these problems still exist in the world around them has or they are contributing to it. I cannot fault anyone for those beliefs. But, what I can fault people for is defending this lie that black lives don’t matter because everyone matters. It is derived from an oblivious and insensitive mindset.

“All Lives Matter” has been thrown in the face of Americans, especially black people, for at least a year or more. Why? Americans were told “Black Lives Matter” when Trayvon Martin was killed and no one was held completely responsible.

Regardless of the exact situation surrounding his death, it calls to mind everything from Emmett Till to Rodney King. Black people are tired of being targeted. Are there black people doing stupid shit they should be punished for? Yes, absolutely. Should they be shot? Maybe. Should they be arrested, tried, and punished for their crimes? That’s how we’re told it works. Can the same be said for every other race in this country? Yes. Is it happening to every other race in America? No. Hell no.

A white Stanford swimmer can rape an unconscious college student and be sentenced to six months in jail — even though he was let out after three months — because of the potential impact of prison on his future. Meanwhile, a black former Vanderbilt football player is sentenced to the 15-year-minimum for the exact same crime. What’s the difference? It wasn’t that these events happened decades apart. They happened this year! The official excuse was that the case involving a black man will set an example for future rapists.

Here is where the problem lies: standards and expectations. Black people are expected to be murderers, thieves, and criminals until we can prove otherwise because the stereotypes used to describe black people make those assumptions normal. We have more evidence to the contrary of these expectations, but you hardly ever hear of it. Those accomplishments usually float around the black community.

Why? A majority in this country still sees us the same way they brought us over here: we will have it worse “somewhere else,” we don’t know any better, and the white man is going to rehabilitate us (with religion and “education”) like they did the natives of this land.

Black people have always known that most whites never saw anyone of color as their equal. With the current influx of videotaped evidence proving black people can die based on a lesser standard of evidence because we are more likely to be “guilty until proven innocent” is currently all over several types of media. Yet, no one in the majority is listening because All Lives Matter.

The same realm that captured these videos is the same realm where the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement started. It’s the realm that many black people live in. Admittedly, there has been a lot of hate festering within the black community and rightfully so. We have been demonized as rapist, murderers, thieves, and a threat to all white people everywhere.

Consider any moment in your life where something is broken, you bring attention to it, but everyone is trying to pin the blame on you because you brought attention to it. Imagine nobody wants to hear your side and their perspective is just the end of the conversation. Actually, no, think back to when you were a child and wanted to tell someone about the bullying, physical or mental torment, or a frustration you were facing and everyone makes an excuse for the person doing it. Didn’t that very memory create a discomfort for you? Maybe you got a little bit angry just thinking about it.

Now, consider this happens all the time for the rest of your life. That is why Black Lives Matter. Black people feel this way every day in our neighborhoods and yours. Our problems are overlooked or understated for the “larger good” then they create laws to further separate us.

Stop and frisk (but only if you look like an immigrant). The “war on drugs” (although the penalties for crack cocaine and powder cocaine – even though both are cocaine, one is used more by whites and the other used by more blacks – yet its 15 years for crack and three to five years for powder cocaine). Mandatory minimums. Truth in sentencing. More minorities, mainly black, receive jail time for a first offense, longer sentences, and harsher penalties than whites. Instead of using these statistics to figure out a solution, some people use the statistics to better establish the stereotypes of black people to feel comfortable about the institutionalized racism. This after hundreds of years in this country filled with dissent, hatred, and violence towards blacks shows how racism — and turning a blind eye to racism in this country —has evolved.

All Lives Matter is the equivalent of “ignore it until it goes away,” and seemingly started in a corner of our society where our “everyday world” doesn’t enter theirs. It seems like an insulated and distant thought process. I’m not looking to spout some logic that is steeped in an ‘anti-white’ perspective. There are countless white people that support the black community, are very active in it, and create lasting relationships with black people. But there are also people, regardless of race, who are stuck in this enclosed, insulated world of either money or privilege where they won’t ever experience the normal, everyday world we all share.

A normal, everyday world where racism, prejudice, and ignorance still exist. This is the realm where All Lives Matter and it’s a place where people make judgments based on a world that’s disjointed from reality. All Lives Matter supporters want to hold onto this belief that racism ended the day us black folks got our civil rights, like it didn’t take another two decades to “settle in.” In fact, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan used the civil rights movement to create this “law and order” state of America. Hell, George Bush used black fear to get elected President with his campaign ads.

All Lives Matter is based on the idea that American minorities have better lives here versus anywhere else and we should just be happy about that. It also touts that blacks should stop killing each other in order for their lives to be taken seriously, that all racism has just stopped, or simply “if you don’t like it, just leave.”

That kind of logic should not be integrated into the discussion of the social injustice towards black people. Black people weren’t given the choice to immigrate here or given the choice to emigrate from here either, then incarcerated for being here. Five percent of this nation’s population and 40 percent of the jail population. That is called targeting. Look up the 13th Amendment. It gave slaves freedom, but made convicts slaves and denies them everyday rights. This was a way to keep black people enslaved.

All of this after we were brought here on boats, starved, diseased, beaten, sold, raped, enslaved, and considered subhuman by white people in this country. And 96 years after the Constitution stated “All men are created equal,” black people were still slaves. Another 90 years after that, black people could finally integrate into schools, vote, and do a plethora of other things whites were already privileged to. So the argument is not about our treatment during slavery, or slavery at all, but it’s about the continued “negro-bashing” since slavery.

If you don’t think you experience racism, then you probably shouldn’t comment on the current state of race equality in this country because no one expects you to be aware of or understand what racism is. But, these individuals continue to speak about race anyway, the rest of America grabbed ahold of their statements, and created this “All Lives Matter movement.” It is a sleight of hand tactic to draw attention away from the real issues at hand, to confuse, belittle, and refocus the blame onto black people.

There is and has always been video and photo evidence that black people, as a whole, have received relatively brutal treatment from the police. All Lives Matter seems to be an inclusionary tactic. It tells us that “we (as whites) have this same thing happen to us too, so you’re not special.”

On the surface, you are right that police brutality can and has happened to every race in this country. But, were the police created to keep your race "in check"? No. A simple Google search will present millions of published options explaining the origins of police officers, but Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and Exhibit C are just three examples where it was made clear that a police force was created to keep the Negroes in line. Yes, the police force has evolved and isn’t based in the same principles as before; but the simple fact that a majority of blacks feel “targeted” can’t be a coincidence.

Black people are dying under some seriously mysterious circumstances. A black man is dead because he was selling loose cigarettes outside a store. Black people are being hogtied, thrown in the back of a car, and miraculously dying when they reach the police station after being pulled over for a busted taillight.

One black person was shot, while caring for an autistic man in a public place, although he was complying with all police commands (or should I say demands). Another black man was shot inside his car in front of his wife and young daughter. Initially he was thought to be a bank robber, but the story changed quickly to he was a trouble-maker with 20-something traffic citations in less than 15 years. The list of the questionable killings and shootings of black men and women sadly keeps growing by the day in this country.

I still don’t understand how and why Sandra Bland died. Philando Castile was killed in front of his girlfriend, daughter, and Facebook live because he fit the description of a “black man” suspected of robbery. Really? With a woman and child in the car, I’m supposed to believe he just robbed a bank two miles away? A story that later changed to include his extensive, crappy driving and criminal record. The irony is that both of them ultimately died over a broken taillight.

Alton Sterling, who was selling loose cigarettes outside of a convenience store, is another example of why Black Lives Matter, because he was killed in front of two or three video cameras and the police still tried to say he tried to pull a gun on them. There are countless more examples of unarmed black men being shot by police. But Charles Kinsey was the “cherry on top” for me. He was the example that if black people would just comply and follow the police’s orders — which is an argument of All Lives Matter proponents, because blacks were quickly stereotyped, throughout all these shootings, to be “more likely’ to resist arrest and escalate the situation — they would still be shot by police.

Just as “all men are created equal” before it, All Lives Matter carries the same underlying message of “but only if you are a white man” because all lives haven’t mattered when Syrian refugees initially looked to U.S. shores for asylum. Granted, that has changed a bit this year, but when a presidential candidate has a platform for building walls, restricting “illegal immigrants,” and tries to set who can become a U.S. citizen, it doesn’t seem like all lives matter.

The government siding with the oil companies to allow those oil companies to displace Native Americans from their land, while they build this pipeline, and blocked the Native Americans’ protest of the construction of a pipeline — that could destroy fertile land and pollute rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water — through “wildlife areas, sacred Native American sites” and major water sources through four states really makes a great case that all lives matter.

A perfect example of the differences between All Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter is the polarizing views on Colin Kaepernick and others in the NFL. There are social media posts about how these “niggers” should all be shot or hung because they won’t stand up for the National Anthem. We are told how unpatriotic it is, but not why he is doing it.

All Lives Matter garners hate because you overlook your everyday prejudice and your everyday fear. Racism is not always overt. Black Lives Matter wants to change the narrative on black lives. The movement means to bring attention to the injustices we all face, but is exponentially greater amongst our community. Black Lives Matter wants to show the country, and the world, that black lives shouldn’t be feared and, thus, taken. All Lives Matter is a politically-correct scheme to steer the conversation back towards a fear of the black life and away from the social problems faced by the community.

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