Monday, July 18, 2016

Black Lives Matter

The debate over the Black Lives Matter movement is disturbing for a number of reasons.

The first is that some people, ostensibly, do not get the meaning of the slogan.  It, of course, does not mean other lives do not matter, but rather that black lives matter too.  And, implied, is that there is a sufficiently large population of ethnocentric bigots who do not believe this to be the case.   How tough would it be for you to identify people who fall into this population of neanderthals?

Black lives matter might as well be, Black lives matter as much as all other lives.

Who does not get this? I think there are three groups.

(1) The congenitally or developmentally obtuse.  There are people who are not that swift and others who never exercised their brains such that what could be a useful component of one's anatomy is not much more than some mushy gook located between the ears.  So, these folks maybe do not get what black lives matter means.  Careful not to sound especially condescending here, but how long would it take you to identify five people who can fall neatly into this category of the congenitally or developmentally obtuse?

(2) The second group is composed of people who do not want to get the message because they have a political agenda. It is convenient for this cluster to pretend to be obtuse so they can claim that those marching behind the black lives matter are separatists or just not concerned with any other group than their own. Former Mayor of New York Giuliani made comments on the national news last week which made it seem that he could fall into this group.  He has a political agenda, sees the black lives matter movement as an opportunity to make some debate points and deliberately does not get it. Giuliani did some wonderful things for the city of New York when he was mayor. I think of him with respect on those rare occasions that I walk in Time Square at midnight with no sense of fear--something that was out of the question in the late 60s and 70s. But on this issue he, and other members of his ilk, are not doing our society any favors. Black Lives Matter does not mean that other lives do not matter, but that black lives do.  And this group knows this.

(3) The third group is made up of those who no longer want to hear about complaints from African Americans. This group feels the playing field has been leveled and point to the President, chiefs of police, and politicians as an indication.  This group feels police act as they should when they suspect criminal activity.  And the group contends that the black lives matter movement fuels aggressive behavior by those who otherwise would not be likely to commit crimes. They point to recent killings in Baton Rouge and Texas as evidence.

All three of these groups do not get it.  All black lives matter means is that it is time that we as a society get past race as a criterion for anything.  

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