I know when some white people hear Black Lives Matter they automatically hear “Only Black Lives Matter”. This is human psychology at work right there. Unfortunately, that is not what activists are saying. What they are saying is that the laws, police, institutions, financial systems, education systems, and fabric of our society is set up to benefit white men and devalue people with darker skin. Every day of their lives, they hear the system state loud and clear, “Black lives do NOT matter.”
If you don’t believe that the deck is stacked against black people and has been so for hundreds of years, you may have been the victim of poor education and even belligerent Russian misinformation campaigns. It’s unlikely to convince you, but I would suggest reading some of the books at the end of this post and stop getting news and history from Youtube and Facebook.
In WWII, Jewish people around the world had a similar problem, especially in Germany and its conquered lands. They were being killed without chance of justice. They were being ostracized and put on the fringes of society. They couldn’t rely on the police or their government to protect them. After WWII and the Halocaust ended, they committed themselves as a group to a single statement, “Never Again.” It was a rallying cry to get involved in politics, to get access and representation and to create systems that helped them gain equality in society.
Some people, to this day, think that “Jews run the world.” This is the same terrible psychology and misinformation at work. Because Jews coordinated themselves to get out from under the shackles of an oppressive system and they worked together, other people thought the worst of their intentions. Rather than equality, people assumed they wanted to be in charge themselves.
When someone says “Black Lives Matter”, they are truly not disparaging you or diminishing your life. They are organizing themselves to get out from under the thumb of an oppressive system that has enslaved them and kept them down for hundreds of years. You shouldn’t be offended that they want to matter. You should be offended that their lives, according to our laws and institutions, actually matter less than yours.
White people need to affirm their cry and says “YES! Black lives DO matter!” and push our politicians to do right by this afflicted community. If you think black people have the exact same circumstances and opportunities as white people, then you will not agree with me. It’s easy to see the world through our existing beliefs. Cognitive Dissonance is still powerful. It’s a difficult thing to do, but you could do what journalists do, you could interview poor black people to understand what their lives are like.
When someone says “Black Lives Matter” and you say “All Lives Matter” what you are saying is “I don’t like you organizing and trying to defend yourself. Do not create a special status for your people. Please just leave things exactly as they are.”
Police aren’t killing white people. They are killing black people. In Louisville, Kentucky (home to 600,000 people -mostly low income and black) the government has provided exactly 1 single polling location. This is not fair and we all know it. There are thousands of laws that exist to protect white people and subjugate black people. We are not far from South Africa during Apartheid.
This isn’t nice. This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.
Before you say “All Lives Matter”, just take a moment to think how mean you are being to the other person. It’s not about you. It’s about a social injustice that has been going on for centuries. Don’t get your news from reddit and Facebook. Learn about our history and maybe we can change the future.
Books I have read that I found helpful on the topic of social oppression:
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
- At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray
- The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang
- Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang