Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been subject to more ignorant rhetoric pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement than my brain cells can stand. From being labeled a “domestic terrorist group” to “a bunch of racist cop haters” I’ve seen and heard way past enough. So rather than waste my time counter-trolling every unlettered remark I come across on social media, I’ve taken the liberty of putting together an easy-to-read reference guide post for all those who fail to understand — or try to understand, rather — the meaning behind Black Lives Matter. Read carefully.
Black Lives Matter =
Black Lives Matter TOO
Not Black Lives Matter more. Not Black Lives Matter only. Just too. We matter, too. That’s literally all we’re saying. Really, the fact that we have to say it at all is a problem in itself. The fact that we have to remind people that we are actual human beings with an unalienable right to live is mind-boggling. The fact that we have to walk on eggshells every time we have an encounter with the police is terrifying. The fact that we have to pray that our fathers, husbands, brothers, cousins and friends don’t become the next trending hashtag is heartbreaking. The fact that we have to LITERALLY keep telling police officers to stop killing us is tragic. And what’s even more tragic is the fact that the murder of every Black man/woman/child that has occurred at the hands of law enforcement has been justified by the media, the court of public opinion and our nation’s very own legal system. That is why we say — and will continue to say — Black Lives Matter.
#BlackLivesMatter is not anti-police.
It is anti-police BRUTALITY.
“Black lives matter” does not mean “We hate cops.” What we are actually saying is: “We hate when scared, racist hate mongers who hide behind their uniforms and badges (bka “bad cops”) assault and/or shoot down Black people for no valid reason and continuously get away with it.” See the difference?
#AllLivesMatter is merely used as a counter statement to #BlackLivesMatter.
Can I ask y’all a serious rhetorical question? How many times have you heard someone shout “ALL DISEASES MATTER” at a breast cancer walk? Does bringing awareness to one disease and the people it affects mean we are excluding all other diseases? No. So why is it so difficult for so many people to grasp this same exact concept when it comes to Black Lives Matter? Furthermore, why is #AllLivesMatter only used in opposition to #BlackLivesMatter? Aren’t Black lives a part of “all lives”? Shouldn’t #AllLivesMatter also be taking a stand against police brutality? Shouldn’t #AllLivesMatter be fighting for equality and justice for all people? Come to think of it, where was #AllLivesMatter during all the other tragedies that have taken place? Where was #AllLivesMatter during the Orlando shooting? Or the Paris attacks? Or the Charleston shooting? Or the Aurora movie theater shooting? Or the Flint Water Crisis? Or the Boston bombings? Or Hurricane Katrina? Or Sandy Hook? Or 9/11? Or Columbine? I’ll wait.
Stating “Not all cops are bad” in no way addresses police brutality.
Because we already know all cops aren’t bad. I find it interesting how we can use the “bad apple” theory when police officers are killing innocent Black people, but when the media reports a Black man killing five police officers, the entire Black Lives Matter movement is instantly demonized based on that one man’s actions.
Anyway, the main point is that while “not all cops are bad”, there are enough bad cops who are using their power to take innocent lives based on their skin color. Don’t believe me? Let’s check the statistics:
- Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed by the police.
- Nearly 1 in 3 Black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting.
- Fewer than 1 in 3 Black people killed by the police in America this year were suspected of a violent crime and allegedly armed.
- 97% of police brutality cases in 2015 did NOT result in police officer(s) being charged with a crime. NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT, y’all.
So, as you can clearly see, there are far too many cases of police brutality against Black people to ignore the fact that this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
“But what about Black on Black crime” also doesn’t address the issue.
First off, the majority of murders that take place across every racial demographic are caused by someone belonging to that respective race. So this isn’t just a “black on black” thing. Secondly, speaking about Black folk killing other Black folk in comparison to police officers killing Black folk is basically comparing apples to oranges. While both are serious issues affecting the Black community, a clear distinction lies in their causes and consequences. You cannot compare a minority who resorts to crime due to limited educational and economic resources in his lower-class community to a middle-class, trained police officer who uses his gun and badge to bully people because of their race.
And in these “black on black” instances, when Tyrone kills Antwon, Tyrone gets arrested, convicted and shipped off to prison in a heartbeat, and justice is served for Antwon. On the other hand, when Officer Bob kills Maurice for wearing a hoodie or selling bootleg CDs or having a broken tail light or reaching for his ID when asked, Officer Bob gets sent on paid leave while now-dead Maurice’s past criminal offenses and/or history of infidelity and/or high school report cards are dug up and splattered all across the media for the world to see. As a result, Officer Bob’s unjustifiable crime is justified, a deceased man is now demonized, and no justice is served. Notice the difference?
Conclusion: If you don’t understand what it’s like to be Black in America because you aren’t Black, that’s fine. But supporting the heinous crimes of racist, corrupt police officers simply because you have a hard time understanding and sympathizing with the people they are killing makes you a part of the problem. Instead of stating #AllLivesMatter to deflect from the issues Black people face with our law enforcement and justice system, you’d be better off just admitting that you don’t care about Black people one way or the other. But your lack of empathy and support for the Black community does not take away from the fact that white privilege does exist. Racism does exist. Racially charged police brutality does exist.
And as long as these things continue to exist and persist, Black folk are gonna continue to remind y’all that our lives matter, too.