7/21/15

Black Lives Matter . . .


There has been much discussion, lately, about the Twitter hashtag campaign #BlackLivesMatter. Here is how I understand the intent of what is not a "movement" or a "catch phrase" or a "slogan" but is, instead, a simple statement of fact . . . and it comes from a movie (that is almost twenty years old) based on a book (that is nearly thirty years old). Here - watch this for five minutes.


Actually . . . even though you've already done that - just watch the last 16 seconds. Literally. Start the clip at 4:43.

There. That's it. That is all, in my naivety and awkward attempts to pretend I have a perspective larger than my own, know about any or all of this . . . the reason the "Black Lives Matter"  reminder is vital is because too many of us (regardless of our gender, race, age, or perspective) assume that some things do and/or do not happen to certain people of specific gender, race, age, or perspective. Including, tragically beyond WORDS, that violence and murder are things that the black community can and/or should just observe.

Hear me - please - fellow middle class white people . . . to say "ALL Lives Matter" is disrespectful. It is shortsighted. It is harmful. It is antagonistic. It perpetuates the problem. The only acceptable reason to modify the statement to cover all of us would be when/if the problem was relevant to all of us . . . that we were too busy presuming black lives matter to see that, despite how far "we" have come in many corners of our developed, first-world, technology filled world, they do not. At least not enough to respect them and show them the same general decency - without fail - we would expect for our WASPey friends and family.

You can roll your eyes at some applications of the "Black Lives Matter" reminder (and let's all - ALL - admit that it is not a one-size-fits-all utterance) but we can't co-opt it and we can't dispute it and we can't ignore it. We have to let it carry enough weight to eventually have meaning and to eventually - long, long overdue - lead to it being something we truly can take for granted.