Those who are upset about “Black lives matter” and who think it’s a hate group, don’t realize that most people who are involved with it have good intentions. Usually it’s out of fear and anger that people use the hashtag and protest. It’s patronizing, especially with the racial tension this country has, to watch black people bleed out until their death all over television and social media. It’s patronizing for black people to walk into work or go on the train and worry about if the people around them see them as helpless as the people in these videos. It can make people feel upset, afraid and frustrated. They feel like there is nothing they can do and so they look for something that can help with that discomfort. “Black lives matter” is a group that helps those people with that fear and frustration. It gives them a sense of empowerment.
As long as it’s being done without harassing or harming anyone, I don’t see the problem. The term “Black lives matter” made me a bit uncomfortable at first, but that’s because I saw it being used in places that could have negative effects, specifically for children. Let me explain.
A moderately racially diverse but still, majority white, elementary school near my house had big “Black lives matter” posters on each school door. This was a bit troubling to me being that it seems to be fueling an unnecessary emphasis on a specific race in a place that is supposed to empower all children. It’s different than being on a protestors poster in Union Square. We’re all adults, it’s not that big of a deal in a place like that. Though a school, being a symbol for authority, promoting this message so bluntly to elementary children can most likely be harmful and confusing for them.
Do young children in the school who aren’t black understand why this message is on the door? If you explained it to them, do you think they’d even understand? How would you as a teacher (not a parent) explain it to a seven year old?
“Some white cops kill black people unfairly and black people are upset about that and that’s why we put this up on your second grade classroom door.”? Doesn’t that unnecessarily fuel the potential for inferiority complex? In this case, I wouldn’t even know who would feel inferior. It might be white children for feeling guilty about what some racist white cops did. It might be black children who feel like the world is so much against them, the teacher had to bring it up in class.
Isn’t the whole point of educating children a chance for us to get a fresh start? Why use a term that has nothing to deal with getting a good education on every door? Couldn’t they have found another slogan to post? Like “Learning is fun“?
That aggressive use of the term “Black lives matter” has been what makes some people uncomfortable. It’s what makes some people want to say “All lives matter”. It’s confusing for those who don’t understand that an organization that is trying to combat race, is doing it by emphasizing on race. Hasn’t Dr. King taught us that we should seek similarities first and not differences? Focusing on our skin makes us different but focusing on being alive suddenly makes us all the same.
It signifies acceptance, sophistication and a true desire for a solution when we first talk about what we have in common than what we don’t. I often think about what MLK would have thought about the term “Black lives matter” and I honestly think he would’ve been quite uncomfortable with it. His whole philosophy that shook the nation and as well as the world, was about integration and seeing the similarities before the differences. He wanted to see a world where we wanted to be together, not separate.
The people who keep bringing up that “All lives matter”, especially the black people who say it, are concerned because they don’t understand why a group called “Black lives matter” puts such an emphasis on police brutality. It just seems odd that an organization that advocates for “black lives” doesn’t have the same outrage they have about police brutality against blacks as they have against blacks brutality against blacks. My question is, why? Did they just pick out a bad name? I think had they picked “Police brutality matters” it would’ve been another story. That title gives very little room for argument because most people would agree that police brutality definitely matters.
I am concerned about police brutality too but, I do not ignore that there is obviously a horrific problem with crime in many poor black neighborhoods. I don’t know why that gets ignored so much by this organization that’s premise is to care about black lives. I’m not saying that to argue, it’s just truly ironic and confusing to me. It’s also apparent that the people who showed up to the NYC protest for Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s death were mostly white.
For us to assume that racism alone is what’s killing many innocent black men does not show the whole story. Many black people, such as myself, believe that our interactions with the police have a lot to deal with how we speak and present ourselves. Police brutality is unacceptable and should not be tolerated under any circumstances but we as citizens (of all races) should present ourselves as neutrally as possible so that we can easily pick out and identify the injustice a police officer is doing. It’s easier said than done, I understand that. But black people have done much harder things. I believe in us.
The scary part about watching “Black lives matter” to me is the anti-cop attitude they seem to have or seem to have spread. It generalizes cops and exploits the problem more than it deals with it. At this point, it’s routine. A hard-to-watch video of a black man getting killed hits the air. The nation is disturbed. The “Black lives matter” organization is outraged. Then it seems to happen again.
In fact, it seems like more of these videos have popped up since “Black lives matter’ has started which is ironic. Police killings towards blacks have decreased, not increased, since “Black lives matter” started. Again, I want to clearly say, one unjust police killing is far too many but, I can’t ignore these facts. Why is it that seeing these videos have become more popular since “Black lives matter” started? Is it just because we have cell phones now? I’m sure there is footage of similar injustice happening in the fifteen year war the United States has been in. Why don’t we ever see videos of that? Is the media picking and choosing what to show? Why would they do that? Also, if “Black lives matter” wants to end or even reduce police brutality against blacks, then perhaps they need better leadership because it does not seem to be working.
If their outrage is about racist cops generalizing blacks as threatening criminals then wouldn’t it make sense to not generalize all cops as racist killers? Isn’t generalizing what stared this whole mess? Why perpetuate it? I’d feel more comfortable if this was encouraging people to look at things on a case by case basis. It can help us map out patterns so that again, we as citizens, of all races, can better equip ourselves to rationally present and articulate police brutality. It’ll allow us come up with better policies that weed these flaws out.
Those who want to solve a problem have to be willing to present their case with objectivity. Most of what I see happening with people using the “Black lives matter” and the “All lives matter” hashtag is that they just want to make each other mad or they just want to show the world they’re mad. Everybody deserves freedom of expression but anger will not be what saves us from seeing the next video.
Cross-posted from Alex Wolf
Proud futurist, Alexandra Wolf, is helping articulate the often ignored changes happening in the Information Age and teaching millennials how to capitalize in this amazingly opportunistic time in history.
Most known for her prominently viral marketing skills, she's built the fastest growing platform of over a quarter million (250,000+) millennial business women on the Internet in less than a year.
Alex was using a mouse at two and emailed the Spice Girls by five. Through her passion for social influence and trends, she has developed an intimidatingly impressive talent for spotless brand creation, innovative marketing and analyzing social impact