WHITE LIVES MATTER
You came from across the great waters in search of a new life for you and your family, so that you could live and pray the way you want because White Lives Matter.
You landed on the shores of America and realized you were not alone on this great land and had no desire to share with the natives who were obviously beneath you. So, you created an army to handle the Indian thus taking away the land from them because White Lives Matter.
You cased out your land to farm and start your life but needed assistance to work the land. Some of you set out for lands unknown in search of slaves and you landed on Africa and recruited for your cause. You abducted men and women and put them in chains and brought them to America. Not caring that you were breaking up families and destroying tribal communities in order to work and build up your land, so that white lives could continue to matter.
After some of the Northerners realized that it was unconstitutional to enslave people, Lincoln was elected President in November 1860. The South disagrees and feels that states should have rights to do as they please. In December 1860, South Carolina secedes from the Union and within two months Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed suit. In April 1861, the Civil War begins. Undaunted, Lincoln frees the slaves on September 22, 1862 and enlists the blacks to help in the cause. After 4 years of fighting, on April 9, 1865 — Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearm; and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules. On April 14, 1865, at 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots and kills President Lincoln who freed the slaves because white lives matter.
On December 24, 1865, in Pulasky, TN, the KKK, was established which was an organization that ensured that blacks aiming for equality were stopped at all costs. In 1867, the 15th Amendment to the constitution was passed enabling blacks the right to vote. During Reconstruction, there was progress where some blacks were elected into government. Howard, Morehouse, Fiske and Tuskegee Schools and colleges were established for blacks. However, in the South, Blacks who were unskilled laborers or farmers couldn’t find work end up having to give up more than what they’d made. The wealthy white landowner could continue to dominate and repress black people. The Redeemers were white Southerners who believed in restoring the proper social order and decided to get revenge politically. During the years 1890–1905, although the blacks were free, certain states passed “black codes” which systematically disenfranchised the freedom of black people. Blacks did not enjoy the rights or benefits as white citizens especially economically speaking. Jim Crow laws enabled segregation instead of integration. By 1910, the South became increasingly more difficult for blacks to live in. Blacks couldn’t vote, were hung on a regular basis and couldn’t get work because white lives matter.
By 1910, African Americans were slowly moving north to fill the work needs that were in high demand. Northern companies went to the south to recruit black workers, and even paid their fare to move. Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States, said, “The world must be made safe for democracy” and joined the fight of WWI. African Americans joined thinking that would include America as well, that it would be insincere to expect us to fight for democracy in Europe that we still have yet to see in the United States. Excited to join this democratic adventure, they joined to fight in Europe. They had to endure racial segregation, substandard clothing, shelter and services. When WWI was over, the Blacks returned to the United States as victors, and experienced some of the worst race riots directed right at them because white lives matter.
In 1915, D. W. Griffith directed a film, “Birth of a Nation “which was about the South during Reconstruction. Blacks were depicted as extremely violent and trying to dominate the whites and forced themselves on the white women. The problem being is that this portrayal is completely untrue; in fact it’s the complete opposite to what happened. The cast was white and blacks were portrayed by whites in black face. This particular generalization of violent blacks continues to this day and we see how powerful a tool it was by instilling fear ensuring that white lives matter.
By the 1930’s the migration to the north slowed as the jobs started to dry up. The depression hit and jobs were difficult to get. In the north, FORD was the only auto maker to hire blacks the others excluded them. In the 40’s unemployment remained high. Employers hired unemployed whites before hiring blacks because white lives matter.
In the 40’s, Mamie and Kenneth Clarks, two African American psychologists conducted some experiments about race using dolls. Young black children were asked which doll they preferred and the white doll was chosen over the black doll. It clearly showed that segregation was 1) physically harmful to our young and 2) our young would experience extreme levels of low self-esteem. In 1954, Supreme Court decided ‘Brown vs the Board of Education’ said that racial segregation was unconstitutional. However, full desegregation did not take place until early 1970’s because white lives matters.
In the 1960’s Martin Luther King lead the civil rights movement to ensure equality for all. On July 2, 1964, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964,”that banned discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin” in employment practices and public accommodations.” The bill authorized the Attorney General to file lawsuits to enforce the new law. The law also nullified state and local laws that required such discrimination. They also introduced, JFK’s “Affirmative Action” which was a temporary aid in leveling the playing field for blacks and other minorities in regards to promotions, salary increases etc that were exclusive to whites. One hundred and two years later, the rights of blacks were finally returned to them despite that white lives matter.
In the late ‘60’s Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panthers because they believed that it was time to take back their civil rights and trying to work with the government would take too long. The Black Panther Party had four desires: equality in education, housing, employment and civil rights. It had a 10 Point Plan to get its desired goals. Edgar J Hoover called the Black Panther Party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” Hoover ordered field operatives of the FBI to introduce measures that would cripple them. The head of the FBI approved of using infiltrators like William O’Neal who later became Chief of Security for the Black Panther Party. Unbeknownst to the BPP, the FBI knew all the movements of their top leaders and was able to orchestrate raids in Chicago and Los Angeles locations. This led to the arrest of regional leaders thus resulting in the collapse of the Black Panther Party movement. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was killed for fighting for equal rights because white lives still matter.
In the late 70’s the Affirmative Action started having setbacks because although the action was to help the minorities, it tended to side with them and against the majority. Angered by this, whites have concluded that reverse racisim happens. A white male who could not get into a medical school after 2 years trying, he felt they had unfairly discriminated against a white applicant. No mention of the century of discrimination against blacks but why would they, because white lives matter.
For the next 30 years blacks are slowly integrated into society in every aspect, even in the entertainment industry. Blaxploitation enabled black actors to work in various films and television not always in a positive light but work nonetheless. We play all sports, from track and field to basketball to football. We have even excelled in the exclusive world of golf and tennis. We’ve made it or is that just for a chosen few???!!! In 2009 Affirmative Action ended because there was no racism. Then, opportunities slowed for some blacks and easier to obtain for some. Some people have been discriminated against because of the hue of their skin and the texture of their hair. We see more lighter complexioned persons get jobs on television than someone with a darker pigment especially if they don weaves. We’ve seen where some of our people have tried to lighten their skin so that they can be accepted. Generations of self hatred and insecurity has been instilled and adopted by us, all because white lives matter.
In the year 2016 some Blacks have made tremendous strides in every avenue from corporate to the entertainment industry. We still see high unemployment for African Americans as compared to White Americans. We still see high numbers of uneducated blacks as compared to whites. We still see young black males targeted and go to jail while their white counterpart is released or let go. We still see and continue to see police shootings which could have been prevented; take lives of our youth like they were an afterthought. If it wasn’t for the invention of the cell phone camera we wouldn’t have seen the incredible footage of abuse caught on digital film which prompted one to think, “How long has this been going on or has it always been this way?” Life expectancy for blacks is considered high risk just for being black. This double standard or what is commonly called “white privilege” is so prevalent in our society white people don’t notice it until attention is diverted away from what’s important, white lives of course!!!
Now, I ask you, “Isn’t it time that black lives matter since they never have before?”
Erika Cohen, September 2016