Black Lives Matter is not racist, but your opposition is
I recently read a social media post which proclaimed that “Black Lives Matter, [T]he name in itself is racist, the organization is very anti police…”
While I cannot assume the ability to talk for everyone who ascribes themselves to a movement, I can easily state with confidence and certitude that BLM is fundamentally not racist.
I’ll get to the well covered confusion that exists in the definition of racism that is being utilized in that statement later. But lets start with the name.
This misguided approach of reverse-victimization is no new phenomenon. When black people began to mobilize behind the theme of black-power in the 1960's, their action incited a “white” backlash that cast any proclamation of black-power to connote the destruction of power for all other identities. Every representation in media, every aspect of governmental power, and financial control has been dominated by “white” people in this country at the expense of black people. As such the plurality of black Americans were made to feel as if they had no right to pride, beauty and intellect — power.
But when black people who have been subjugated and abused for generations by systemic white privileged try to uplift themselves with a catchy slogan - suddenly it is the white people who are the victim.
Fast-forward to today, and we have another movement which only stands to mark how far we have not come in fifty years with Black Lives Matter. Were we to say ‘Women Matter’, is that to the detriment of men? Does telling children that ‘Education Matters’ mean that all those who don’t pursue an advanced degree mean nothing in this society, or does it offer the opinion that the value of an education should not be ignored over other options?
It’s silly to think that one would have to explain such an uncomplicated collection of three little words, but in the face of what it means to those it is being lobbed at — the opposition is telling.
My argument can be linked to the very use of terms like ‘reverse racism’ which by definition gives the ownership of racism to “white” people as a matter of right, as it assails the mis-placement of such injustice on those who should comprise a privileged group in our society.
If All Lives Matter, there would have be little need to turn-the-phrase Black Lives Matter. But rather than inspect our system, valuing the emotions of marginalized people — you seek to silence them with your own.
Secondly, Black Lives Matter is not anti- police, but is soundly anti- police violence. A sentiment shared by “white” militia who stockpile guns in preparation for government over-reach. Yet these “white” people are often championed in “white” culture, while BLM is reviled.
Does some of the rhetoric get misused and confused in the passion of trying to demonstrate a case? Yes! But this should not obviate an underlying sentiment shared by a large segment of our population; because they don’t have the privilege of controlling their representation in the media.
Lastly, racism speaks to a systemic dis-empowerment of people based on the construct of race. When for instance 87% of Congress is “white”, any negative sentiment marginalized people have toward those who represent and identify with power can never be racist.