I don’t feel it’s necessary to explain what this post is about. The title of this post pretty much completely covers that. What I do want to say before diving in is this: I am an undeniable supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and an ally and friend to the oppressed people in this country. Our justice system actively works against people of color, and I refuse to become an impartial bystander to this reality.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” -Desmond Tutu
I keep my Facebook circle small- Accepting the friendship of only about 200 friends, family members, colleagues, and classmates. Over the past few years, I’ve managed to remove nearly all of those in support of homophobic, racist, sexist, misogynistic, or any other bigoted ideas from my friends list. Basically, I do what I can in attempt to keep the hate-filled posts I see on Facebook to a minimum. Lately, though, the racism I’m exposed to on social media has exponentially grown. It seems as though our TV’s and Internet feeds are constantly filled with anger and sadness over yet another innocent American black man being hurt or killed by the actions of a police officer. Our friends and followers have seemingly all taken sides- Choosing to either empathize for the victims of the crimes or to justify the actions of the officers. Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a growing number of the latter lately.
My Facebook feed is nearly always strewn with anti-BLM propaganda, and often so it’s riddled with ignorance by those who don’t understand what the movement is actually about. In lieu of this, I want to do my part in setting the record straight.
BLM is not a war on police.
BLM is not some bullshit conspiracy to paint all officers as racist and wrong.
BLM is a movement standing for genuine racial equality and the end of unjustified killing, generalization, and profiling of our country’s black people.
Yes, I hear you and I agree with you- All police officers are not bad. In fact, I’m of the honest belief that most police officers have nothing more in their hearts than the determination to help and protect people, but this doesn’t exonerate the large number of those who don’t. In order for the goodness of some officers to be a viable point in your arguments surrounding these matters, you must first understand and acknowledge that there is a significant number of officers who act purely on preconceived notions and stereotypes regarding only those of color- Specifically our country’s black people.
If your reaction to the recent shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Charles Kinsey was anything other than anger, sadness, or disgust, I urge you to remember that these were all innocent human beings- All of whom were living, breathing men with families and friends just like yours who love them. Those of you who are white and/or opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, if these men resembled the men in your family and were shot in the same scenario by the same officers, would your reaction remain the same? If you answered honestly, I’m guessing you said no. Think about it.
A missing white child saddens you more than a missing Latino child.
A clock made by a white teenager makes you proud while a clock made by a Sudanese teenager is justifiable means to call law enforcement.
A murdered white man upsets you more than a murdered black man.
As uncomfortable as it may be to admit, that’s what’s real right now in our country. So now I ask you this: Do the reports of black Americans being harmed and killed cluttering your Facebook feed annoy you? Are you tired of police officers being publicly named for crimes they commit while wearing their badges? Do the BLM protestors slowing your traffic aggravate you? Well, tough. For one moment imagine how different your life would be if the pigment of YOUR skin kept you in constant fear of becoming yet another victim to a racially motivated crime in this country. Imagine not knowing whether or not you can call on the very people supposedly dedicating their lives to protecting you because your blackness pegs you as a criminal and not a victim. Seriously, imagine raising kids in that sort of Hell. If this was your every day reality, it’s doubtful that your reaction to these matters would be the same. Trust me- The victims of these crimes and their loved ones are tired of seeing news like this too. What you need to realize, though, is that they’re tired of the fear, grief, loss, and anger these crimes bring forth for them. You are just tired of hearing about it.
All in all, I don’t feel optimistic that this will change any feelings surrounding these recent events, but I am hopeful going forward that we are capable of being human enough to identify when something is simply not okay. My opinion? Perhaps we should all support the end of the crimes these news reports are covering, not just the end of the news reports. White privilege is real. Black oppression is real. Ignorance is real. It is up to us as a whole to remedy this inequality, and to become a stronger and more united human race- One that unanimously believes that BLACK LIVES MATTER.