Black Lives Matter! Confused? Why?
In recent weeks, or months even, there has been great debate about the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement has been called "a hate group."
Described by its founders as "an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise... an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression," personally, I see "Black Lives Matter" as a sequel to the Civil Rights Movement. Neither are based in racial prejudice, but both magnify the importance for equality. In the Civil Rights Movement, the primary issue was the lack of inalienable rights amongst black people, though the Declaration of Independence clearly states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...."
The fact of the matter is that although we are CREATED equal, we are not all treated as equals. It would be naive to believe that because a racist complies with the law, that automatically changes the content of his heart and causes him to teach his children differently than he was taught.
But let's just say that a hardened heart was softened and that previous hatred was not passed to future generations. There is always the fact that there is a fear or even a disdain for the unknown. Until you've walked in a person's shoes or interacted enough to have even the smallest amount of empathy, another person's experiences are hardly fully comprehended.
Black Lives Matter is in no way stating that the lives of other races don't matter. Neither is it taking on a superlative role of importance. The fact of the matter is that black lives have not been treated as if they matter, by other blacks or other races... Unless it was of benefit to the other race, of course. Slave masters would beat their slaves within an inch of their lives and then stop so that the pain was still excruciating but the slave didn't die. Why? Because that black life mattered. Who would do his work if he died? "Massa" would have to buy another slave to replace him or deal with the frustration of implementing a younger and less capable slave to fill in the role.
Such was the case for future generations. Black lives as a whole weren't seen as valuable unless they provided an amenity for the whole of society, even after being given equal rights on paper. We get it. We're GIVEN equal rights. It's just not stated that these rights are easier and quicker for us to lose because the one that controls the pen (lawmakers, attorneys, judges, etc.) never felt we should have been given certain rights in the first place.
Black Lives Matter isn't a movement that bulks law enforcement. Let's face it: for the most part, criminals aren't the ones out participating in protests. Protesters have been peaceful, law-abiding citizens working to bring light to social injustice. Granted, there are some extremists who veer from the movement's intent in favor of their own ideologies and practices, and they may do so under the guise of forcing others to recognize that black lives matter; but this behavior is individual and has nothing to do with the movement.
As for the controversy concerning the name of the movement "Black Lives Matter," do pro-lifers picket in front of general practitioners' offices, chanting for doctors to not kill their patients? Of course not. The living is an already protected sector against death. They target abortion clinics because that is where their issue lies. "Black Lives Matter" simply places emphasis on the social injustices incurred by black people an a highly disproportionate rate. According to The Washington Post, as of May, the number of whites and minorities killed by police this year was almost equal. However, the number of unarmed victims saw a huge difference. Blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites of other minorities. So, yes, the term "Black Lives Matter" is quite befitting. And no, it's not a "hate group" unless the hate is indicative of the feeling assigned to the occurrence of a presumed innocent life being taken at the hands of another person, whether law enforcement or a neighbor. No one can expect another to love that.