The word I hate most during times of civil unrest and protest at the racism and police brutality Black people face in this country is But.
Black Lives Matter. But what about all lives?
It enrages me that non-Black people continue to say this when time and time again multiple examples have been given to explain why it’s stupid, cruel, and hurtful. I’ll try again to see if it sticks for anyone reading this. If someone is raising money for breast cancer, you don’t cut them off and rudely interject that all cancers matter. You don’t do this because you know that participating in the fight against breast cancer doesn’t mean that we don’t care about other cancers. And yet far too many people are incapable of making that leap of logic when it comes to Black Lives Matter.
And it’s never, “All lives matter, so yes I want to know what I can do to help stop police brutality against Black people because I believe all lives matter which means their lives matter too.” It’s always all lives matter thrown in the face of Black people as a way to ignore our treatment in this country. Just say you hate acknowledging Black people’s pain because you don’t think there’s a problem with race in America and gooooooo.
Police brutality against Black people is wrong and needs to stop. But what about Black on Black crime?
First of all, why does the phrase Black on Black crime exist? No one ever mentions white on white crime or Asian on Asian crime. That phrase was invented to make Black people look like we’re animals killing each other. First, it’s not true. We might be policed and imprisoned at a higher rate but it’s not because we commit more crimes. Second, if it were true, two wrongs don’t make a right! If you have two kids and they’re hitting each other, you don’t hit one and say well it doesn’t matter that I hit them because they were fighting anyway. That’s basically what you’re saying when a police officer kills a Black person – they commit crimes amongst themselves so it’s okay if police kill them too. Last, the police are supposed to be law enforcement they’re not supposed to join in on crime and commit murder.
Police shouldn’t kill us. But was he cooperating?
Are you telling me that with all the training police are supposed to have, the only way they can stop someone who is resisting arrest is to kill them? They don’t have any other weapons or tactics at their disposal? They can’t release a hold once the person has been properly restrained? And let’s not act like they have a very loose interpretation of resisting arrest when it comes to Black people. One step forward by a Black person, and police go into hyper-drive to take them down with extreme force. But I’ve seen plenty of videos of white people swinging bats, screaming, and spitting at police who were eventually restrained and brought in alive. If you don’t see the double standard there, you don’t want to see it.
Police shouldn’t kill us. But what was his crime?
I don’t give a fuck what his crime was. Police are not judge, jury and executioner. Their job is to apprehend criminals and let the rest of the justice system do the work to determine guilt or innocence and possible punishment. For some reason, with white criminals they’re capable of remembering their job is only to apprehend. But with Black criminals they often forget.
Police shouldn’t kill us. But he should have known better than to react the way he did.
The police are the ones who are supposed to be trained on how to handle themselves in dangerous situations. So why are Black civilians supposed to know the exact proper way to behave in order to not be seen as a threat and end up shot? If these officers are that scared of Black people that a raised voice or a hand reaching too fast reaching for ID makes them fear for their lives enough that they have to shoot, then maybe they need a less stressful job.
Racism is a problem. But I’m not racist.
Okay, and? How is that helpful? Are you doing anything to call out racism among your co-workers, friends, and family? Or do you let racist jokes and comments slide because you’re uncomfortable and don’t want to make a fuss? Because sitting quietly while Cousin Chad says he can’t stand these thugs – and yes thugs is the socially acceptable way to say nigger. We know what they mean when they say that word – and then getting on Twitter or Facebook to say how appalled you were by his words and how ashamed you are to be related to him helps absolutely zero Black people. Speaking up and calling shit out is what helps.
Also, there’s so much more to not being racist than not burning crosses on lawns. Take a look at this amazing graphic to help understand the varying levels of racism and white supremacy.
I get that protestors are angry. But they shouldn’t destroy property.
We kneeled quietly and respectfully during the anthem to bring attention to police brutality against Black people. And this country had a BIG problem with that. We marched peacefully, and the state sent in police with tear gas and giant “rubber” bullets to assault the protestors rather than fire and charge ALL of the officers involved in the murder of George Floyd. So now you have furious citizens who are tired of our people being murdered by the state without consequence, who are left with no other way to express their rage. If burning down buildings is the only way to get people to pay attention and to force the justice system to act against murderers with badges then so be it. This country reaped what it sowed.
If they want to protest that’s fine, But they should be peaceful like Dr. King.
When they say the people in power write history, the story of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement is a prime example of what they mean. According to the way history is taught in US schools, there were only a few bad whites in the South who did bad things. So Black people went on a few marches and asked nicely to have rights as full citizens. And then *waves a magic wand* the Civil Rights Act was passed and racism was over.
What we don’t teach, and what has been forgotten by many is that there was a lot more to the story than that. And Dr. King was more than the cherry-picked quotes placed on a black and white photo of him that he’s been reduced to every time January rolls around. The Civil Rights Movement had teeth, and many Black people lost their lives to help get us where we are today. So please, don’t invoke his name as a means to get protestors to stop fighting against racism in this country because you don’t like being uncomfortable or inconvenienced by their methods. Peaceful protest alone won’t get it done. If that was the case, Colin Kaepernick and others kneeling during the national anthem would have got the ball rolling on police reform months ago.
Basically, what I’m saying is stop responding with BUT every time we express our fear and rage. When you do so you are deflecting away from very real concerns in order to make yourself feel better. Let us speak, and fight the urge to jump in with a BUT because you’re uncomfortable with acknowledging that Black people have a legitimate gripe with this country. When you respond with BUT, whether you realize it or not, you’re putting the blame back on Black people and making excuses for the things white people do.
A few things to close with. I said what I said. I’m not arguing a single point with anyone on the internet. If you’re uncomfortable with anything I wrote, work that out on your own time. Some of the buts I spoke of were things that I had to unlearn myself. And I did that by listening and reading and understanding what is reality versus what was fed to me. I’m also not here to be your personal educator about anything I spoke of. If you have further questions, please hit up Google.com and look for resources there. If none of the above applies to you, then that's great! But there are others who need to see these words. And yes, you are free to share this post.
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