blacklivesmatter

#BlackLivesMatter?

I’m half black, half white, and fully Hispanic. But let’s pretend I was white and wrote the following:

“It was a warm evening in September, a couple of weeks after Dillon Taylor got shot, and somewhere in the mix I brought up Salt Lake City, hoping to spark a ‘conscious conversation.’ Then it happened. The nightmarish response. ‘What’s happening in Salt Lake City?” one of my black roommates asked. ‘I heard some kid got shot or something like that.’…These non-indictments reiterated what I’m up against every single day: the unintentional ignorance of black people. But I was also aware of my willingness to put away my justified ‘white rage’ in order to ensure my interactions with black people remain comfortable.”

That sounds pretty racist, doesn’t it? Would it still sound racist if black and white were reversed and it mentioned Michael Brown and Ferguson instead of Dillon Taylor and Salt Lake City? Of course it would.

This is exactly what Priscilla Ward did in a recent piece she wrote for Salon, in which she complains about the racist attitudes of those around her.

I’ve got bad news for you, Ms. Ward. You are a racist.

Judging by your article, your “justified ‘black rage’” is directed solely at the fact that all white people don’t automatically know everything about your culture. That’s not racism. That’s lack of knowledge. I’m sure you don’t know everything there is to know about “white culture.” Your roommates even tried to reach out and ask you questions, to which your implied response was that they should have already known.

There never seems to be a time when someone actually calls you any names, prohibits you from doing anything, or prevents you from going anywhere. I’m sure if you had chosen to wear your bonnet, fry chicken, and sing some Aretha songs, a desire you felt you needed to suppress, your roommates would have accepted it wholeheartedly. Nowhere in your article do you mention any blatantly racist action from them, only that they lacked knowledge about your culture. The irony is that you make a point of mentioning that you had to pretend to care about things in “white culture,” such as Taylor Swift, and yet you expect everyone around you to care about “black culture.”

You end the article by saying that you still don’t share who you are or what you are all about, but instead you choose to continue being angry. It’s a self-imposed censorship, because you apparently see everyone around you as racist. And yet you will say things like, “I don’t say ‘white.’ I use ‘they’ instead.” Again, if the roles were reversed, those would be the words of a racist.

It is because of people like you who fabricate racial issues where there are none that I take issue with hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter. In a post I wrote last week on abortion, #AllLivesMatter, I mentioned that we should be saying #AllLivesMatter instead of #BlackLivesMatter. It led to a lively discussion on race relations in one of my Facebook groups. While at no point did I mean to make light of the black lives that are lost or of any unfairness aimed at blacks, my issue with the hashtag is that it’s based on two misrepresentations:

“#HandsUpDontShoot” — This came about because of the falsehood that Michael Brown was surrendering, with his hands up, when he was shot. It was confirmed, by the autopsy and by several witnesses — black witnesses — that he was doing no such thing. He was charging at Officer Wilson when he was shot.

“#ICantBreathe” — This was another hashtag based on misinformation. Eric Garner did not die from being choked to death. His death occurred in the ambulance and was caused by several health issues, such as asthma and obesity. Another fact that seems to escape media attention is that the entire arrest was supervised by a black officer.

Yes, these were both tragedies and shouldn’t have happened. But let’s be honest. Both men were resisting arrest. The color of their skin was incidental. If they had complied with the officers, the situations might not have ended in tragedy. And yet, these men are the poster children of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Race-baiting, hate-filled speakers such as Al Sharpton are the spokespersons for the movement. Riots and violence are the response of the movement.

Here are some questions for those who support #BlackLivesMatter.

Which black lives matter?

Is it based solely on skin color?

Do blacks with lighter skin matter as much?

Do other races that have dark skin — such as Hispanics and Arabs — matter?

Do black lives that have been taken by white officers matter more than black lives that have been taken by other blacks?

And as I mentioned in my previous post, what about the 16,000,000 black babies that have been aborted in the last 42 years? Do they matter?

There does need to be a conversation about racial discrimination in this country, but as long as it involves imagined slights and imaginary heroes, there will never be a resolution.

10 thoughts on “#BlackLivesMatter?”

  1. every time I see #blacklivesmatter I think to myself, yep, lots of people are still dying of Ebola.

    I’m not saying race in this country isn’t an issue, or we shouldn’t work for true equality…. But some things are more important. Police killed 2 people because of their race, Ebola nearing 10000, people are dying in epic proportions because they live in a part of the world most of western society doesn’t really care about.

  2. This post is so incredibly racist. I’m certain that you aren’t listening to the Black Lives Matter movement and what it stands for, and therefore won’t hear others out either…so there is nothing more to say than to just call you out.

    1. Thanks for reading, Theresa! First of all, I thought it was my understanding that only the majority could be racist. I’m Hispanic, the disenfranchised minority, thus racism is impossible for me. And if you don’t agree with that, then you’re making my point for me. Samantha Ward, in spite of being black, is being racist in her article. As for not listening to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, people like Al Sharpton are shouting so loudly, nothing else can be heard.

  3. I appreciate your thoughts and your perspective. It seems that racism is a claim that can only work if you have certain skin color(s) – a fact which has disturbed me for some time.

    Your post actually reminded me of a post I wrote before the events made famous by Michael Brown and Eric Garner. I, being white, tried to approach it from a different angle but I believe I had a very similar goal. If you are interested, you can find it at The Last Minority.

  4. I am a whiter than white girl that grew up in south Lousiana. I have two white kids (both adopted, one internationally and one through “the system”). When I read your post (for to you via the hustle fb group) my belly didn’t feel right. I’ve been rolling it over all day in my head. I read the Salon article yesterday and didn’t come away with the same feeling. My biggest thought in my head is that in conversations with black friends is that when you see #blacklivesmatter, the posters don’t mean only black lives matter. At all. I feel like what they are also saying even if it isn’t in a hashtag is “I want to be heard.” I get that. We cannot say that things are equal when my friend with a black son the same age as my son is already teaching him things that I will never have to teach my white son. Or when a black friend, when she should be able to be elated, agonizes over a pregnancy test if she will have a boy or a girl. Things are not where they were but they are not where they need to be. I feel like instead of countering with #alllivesmatter, we should say #blacklivesmatter and #ihearyou and #whatcanido to make sure that people are heard in the circles that I touch. And, it is uncomfortable. B/c when we start doing that, it should cause some actions/reactions from us that we might have let slide before. Like me. I felt for the longest time like as a white woman with white kids that I don’t have a voice in the conversation. But it’s not true. At all. And we could also bring that over to talk about abortion…but that’s another comment for another time. I pray that my words are heard, and that I will graciously hear what you have to say in response.

    1. Ashli, thanks for reading! I would love to believe that those who cry out #BlackLivesMatter aren’t saying that only black lives matter, but everything I see and hear about #BlackLivesMatter seems solely about black lives, and not even all black lives as I pointed out in my post. I’m not saying that everyone who participates in the movement is being hypocritical, I’m just saying that the voices that are the loudest aren’t interested in equality. They seem more interested in playing the role of victims. And as long as they continue to act like victims, a sincere, honest discourse about racism can never take place.
      You are absolutely spot-on with saying that we need to make sure that people are heard in the circles that we touch. I strive each day to treat all the people I come in contact with as human beings, not black, white, or otherwise. And that is the best that any of us can do.

  5. Many people have falsely assumed that Brown and Garner were issues I couldn’t remain silent about. Instead, I’ve remained fairly tight lipped for many reasons.

    1. Sensationalism via media. It is interesting how different news channels report on different situations. News networks report on controversial topics regardless of correct facts because it keeps ratings up. News isn’t designed to inform. It is a business looking to turn profit.

    2. It’s the wrong approach. I believe that every single life matters. But did the love of God, if you are going to make a case for racial injustice–maybe a more compelling argument would be without looting, pillaging, and defense of criminals (don’t feed me the they weren’t given court to establish innocence. The officers involved hadn’t yet been under review and yet the world called them guilty.)

    3. This is hardly freedom from the Jim Crow era or what MLKJ stood up against. Equality is a right we all deserve from the time of conception. BUT if you intentionally take the easy road and don’t apply yourself and don’t work at all for success–don’t point your fingers at those who did the work and call it privilege.

    All lives matter. Amen amen.

  6. Ashley, thanks for reading!
    1. You’re absolutely right. News has become more a form of entertainment than information. I remember the good old days when you had two hours of news – 6pm, and then again at 11pm for those who missed the earlier broadcast. Now, with the 24-hour “news” cycle, it’s all about who can be the most in-your-face.
    2. Exactly my point. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did more for racial relations than almost anyone else, and he was never hateful and he never condoned violence. And there should be better models for the #BlackLivesMatter movement than people committing criminal acts.
    3. I could not have said it better myself. Thank you for this.
    #TeamRevely4Ever!

Leave a Reply