* Lives Matter

I posted this photo and tag on FaceBook.

“What a load of Bullshit”

My post released a shitstorm. The immediate response I got was from a friend who concluded my post to mean “Joe doesn’t think police lives matter”.

This is a total misunderstanding.

A lot of people instantly think if you endorse “Black Lives Matter”, that somehow by doing so you declare that no other lives matter. When “Black Lives Matter” was first seen in the media, I made a naive, knee-jerk statement. Wait a minute, “All lives matter”, I said. (I was soon schooled by a friend.) When taken out of the context of of the moment, all lives should matter. The problem is that they don’t. There are a LOT of people who have no experience that can help them relate to the idea. They’ve never been pulled over for ‘driving while black’, they’ve never been marginalized in an everyday situation (I could go on, but I won’t).

“Black Lives Matter” is a legitimate campaign to bring attention to a facet of the problem- police brutality waged on black people. The idea is to bring a subject to people who don’t understand what is, and has been happening to black people in America for a very long time. If you don’t think there is a huge difference between a cop killing a member of the majority class and a cop killing a member of a minority class, you haven’t been paying attention. The “Black Lives Matter” movement is bringing this point to your attention.

The point is that white lives, cops lives, ruling class lives, employed lives, mainstream lives, etc… matter by default.

If you are not a majority, mainstream, accepted-by-society person, your life matters less in America. It’s a fact. If we accept this behavior, it will only get worse, until the only people who’s lives really matter are the people in control. We are very neat that point now.

Think about this quote written by Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The point is if you are silent about oppression, you are complicit in it.

At this time, we are becoming more aware of black lives being taken by out of control police. If you dilute “Black Lives Matter” with “(enter group here) Lives Matter”, your action reduces the impact and diverts attention away from the point. When you promote the oppressors (Police Lives Matter) you turn the whole thing upside down.

Bottom line-

  • I think the a large percentage of the police in this country are out of control.
  • People of color are inordinately the object of brutality by police.
  • The behavior of the bad cops is condoned by good cops who refuse to say anything about their own kind.
  • The system is rigged to give the police a pass on their behavior while going through the motions of Grand  Jury reviews.
  • If we don’t help shine the light of exposure on brutality by police against those who are different than ourselves we are complicit in the brutality.
  • Impunity breeds defiance. We don’t know who will be next.

Comments are closed.