Ok. I’m feeling mostly better. So today I wanted to talk about sexuality and some male inequality that exists but isn’t really established. But as I was thinking about it my mind wandered to a more pressing topic, which is the Black Lives Matter movement. For anyone who has been living under a rock, the Black Lives Matter movement (or #blacklivesmatter if you are on Twitter or Facebook), is effectively a response to the mistreatment of African Americans in American society.
The basic premises is that there have been several shootings by police officers of African Americans, as well as several cases of police brutality in otherwise simple cases, like a headlight being out. Aside from this abuse of power being completely unacceptable, the popular response to #blacklivesmatter on Twitter is #alllivesmatter (All Lives Matter, if you have trouble reading hash tags—I know I do). I think, sometimes, that this response is to change the rhetoric of the conversation to being inclusive—the idea that African-Americans shouldn’t be in this struggle alone. And that’s a very optimistic way to look at things. Unfortunately, by saying “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter” it overshadows the problem. The issue becomes no longer that black people are being severely mistreated by a latently racist society, but that everyone should be treated equally. By doing this, the focus shifts to include everyone—which on the surface sounds good, but unfortunately dilutes the assistance to African-American communities that really need the help. It fractures resources.
In addition to this, many people who use the #alllivesmatter use it in response to people saying #blacklivesmatter, claiming that everyone experiences problems, and that African Americans need to be more considerate of the other people struggling. Pretty hard to believe, right? What’s harder to believe is that some people think that this stems out of non-racist positions. It makes some sense, I suppose—that if a person were completely uninformed about the issue, but informed about, say, the mistreatment of Mexican-Americans in Arizona, it would make African-American struggles look trivial. But this is not good enough. Being uninformed and then making a decision that completely excludes a section of people who are claiming a problem is inhumane, which when done systematically becomes a racism of society. It’s low brain level thought. “Me treat black people well, but black people say they not being treated well. They being unfair” is the voice I hear.
So how do we solve this problem? Well, aside from the “treat everyone as you would want them to treat you” idea, which in many cases is not enough, we need to look at how to respond to these matters. We can’t be 100% zero tolerance of racial stereotypes—then we end up with people being afraid to say “black” as a descriptive word. But they have no problem saying “white,” which is a latent racism. Being afraid of black and not white is…well, racist. We need to learn to think critically about problems—the United States is big. Just because things seem good wherever you live does not make things good everywhere.