By: S. Davis
When the response to anything related to Black Lives Matter is “All Lives Matter,” well, it directly comes across as short-sighted, disrespectful and heavy-handed in nature. It carries a subtext of “shut up and go away.” When activists are chanting it, having it applied to shirts and banners and making it newsworthy, it’s not because they believe that black lives mean more than any others on this planet or more specifically, America. It’s just to simply highlight that for most of this country’s history ONLY white lives have been deemed relevant, important and worthy of defending.
Black lives don’t matter as much as white ones in this country. There’s no disputing that. This country was built on the back of slaves, Africans. They were viewed as property so of course they held the same level of relevance as a cup, dish or scissors but they were far more lucrative to their owners based on the amount of work – and commerce they were able to generate. Remember those good ole Southern boys wanted to ensure “southern values” and their “way of living” by dying in combat over their position to have slavery exist in perpetuity.
In addition to blacks being owned in this land of the free they had the glory of being counted as three-fifths of a person in the U.S. Constitution of 1787 (Article I, section 2). Over time the clause has been misinterpreted to mean that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a person or three-fifths of a complete citizen of the country – although I clearly see why anyone could make that argument. I won’t even dispute them. The clause was written to count enslaved blacks as three-fifths of their white counterparts for direct representation in Congress. Even with the correct explanation of the clause a simple question of, “Why aren’t all lives equal on a one-to-one basis?” can easily be posed. This is another instance of black lives being devalued.
Why don’t people understand this? Why are some whites afraid to admit that blacks and other minorities have been discriminated against since…forever? Why do they insist racism is “in the past” and slavery “wasn’t that bad”?
In an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “The Black Lives Matter movement, and what it stands for, is important for this country. The very phrase ‘black lives matter’ is an absolute and direct response to a broken history in this country of structural racism in this country. It is a necessary movement.” De Blasio is a white man if things like that matter to any of you and his wife’s black as well…again, if that matters.
While I don’t agree completely with the BlackLivesMatter movement – in so much as I find their lack of response to black-on-black crime to be unsettling – I understand what drives them and what they’re doing is important.
When Black Lives Matter is heard there should be NO rebuttal at all. It isn’t needed. It’s not being expressed as a matter of dissension. It’s being said to remind those who pine for the days of slavery, segregation and ignorance that we won’t just sit idly on the sidelines and accept death. Simply put, black lives deserve an equal amount of respect as any other humans in this country – and on this planet. Yet there are those that want to fight against that…in 2016. Just take a look at the Republican nominee in the race for the White House.