I’ve debated writing this for a while. Given the media’s insatiable appetite for sensationalism, I have too much on my mind and heart to not write it now. So here it goes….
*please bear with me if I get long winded…
First and foremost, I am 100% American. My ancestors arrived on American soil in the late 1790s. Yes, I am Black, and my ancestors arrived here from Africa. I wear Blue as do many of my friends and family members. I support #BlackLivesMatter. I support them just as I support any other American individual or group that wants their rights respected and protected. Also, just as any other American person or group, that support is not unconditional. I don’t suffer foolishness, intemperance, or criminality.
#BlackLivesMatter is not racist, nor are their motives steeped in racism. To the politicians, talking heads, and media outlets that only seek to portray them or label them as such, look at that photo at the top. They are not the racists. They are simply asking that their rights be respected and protected just as yours are.
I’m sick and tired of the single-sided portrayal of Black people by the media and politicians. It’s constant jibber jabber of how Black on Black crime is rampant. It’s how Blacks are prone to being criminals. You constantly hear about inner-city crime and poverty. That is not Black America. We are more than what you hear on TV.
We are doctors, surgeons, nurses, and administrators. We are lawyers, judges, paralegals, and stenographers. We are astronauts, scientists, and engineers. We are professors, principals, teachers, and secretaries. We are workers, managers, vice presidents, and even CEOs. We are carpenters, electricians, brick masons, farmers, and other laborers. We are not simply a page full of crime statistics and poverty. So, PLEASE quit trying to portray us as a single monolithic crime statistic.
I support #BlackLivesMatter because I listen attentively. I hear what they’re asking, and I understand why they’re asking it. Perceptions shape reality in many instances, and the reality is this. Many Americans in the public and prominent positions to positively or negatively affect others tend to negatively portray Black Americans. The continuous negative portrayal is ingrained into the daily lives of others to where there arises a bias against Blacks.
I’m not accusing people of being racist, and this is where the disconnect arises. Some people jump to the assumption that claiming that Black Lives Matter is a racial claim that Black lives are more important than everyone else. That is not what the movement is claiming or attempting to put forth. They’re simply saying that Black lives matter TOO.
When we don’t see or address our biases, we react to things without understanding or realizing how our reactions are received by others. That image above is the perfect example. If you suggest that all lives matter, then you should have no problem with supporting the statement that Black lives matter because Black lives are indeed a subset of all lives, right? If you support Blue Lives Matter, would you say that you’re support means that firefighters don’t matter? I don’t know of a single person who supports law enforcement who would ever agree to that. Yet, yelling Blue lives matter to someone who suggests Black lives matter is exactly what you’re doing.
Every single American should support #BlackLivesMatter if you sincerely believe the U.S. Constitution is there to protect our rights. If we don’t protect the rights of a subset of Americans, then the Constitution fails to protect us all. It’s not a matter of treating someone better than others. It’s simply treating us all one and the same.
If your response to #BlackLivesMatter is to segue into Black on Black crime, then why not address White on White crime? To do that is to do what I talked about above, which is to claim that all Blacks are criminal. #BlackLivesMatter is asking for law enforcement to NOT treat us all as criminal. How many White people can tell multiple stories about being stopped, patted down, or hand cuffed because they “resemble” a wanted person? Now ask that same question to Black people. Both racial groups commit crime. Both racial groups are arrested for committing crime. Let the media tell it, we Blacks are disproportionately arrested for criminal activity. Now, think about the question about being stopped and ask yourself who’s being stopped more? Why would Black people NOT be disproportionately arrested for criminal activity when they are disproportionately stopped or detained for criminal activity?
I won’t make a claim that there is no crime in inner cities. It’s there. The citizens look to the police to protect them from criminal activity, so why people think Black people hate the police is beyond me. If that were the case, Black people would be more like Charles Bronson and applying vigilante justice in the inner cities instead of asking the police for better protection.
Take Chicago for example as it’s the conservatives favorite whipping post in relation to this topic. Chicago has a serious issue with violence. Gang issues are rampant just as the gun violence has people on edge. Now answer these questions. Where does the drugs and guns originate? Where are the marijuana farms, meth labs, or cocaine labs in Chicago that produce the drugs found on the streets? Where are all the guns being purchased that end up shooting and killing the residents of Chicago? They don’t originate there, and Chicago pays a heavy price for their importation into the city. As much as you hear people clamoring about the number of shooting victims in Chicago, you never hear of them offering any suggestions on how to decrease the gun trafficking that leads to the high number of incidents. When you hear people talk about the drug and gang issues, there are never any ideas given on how to decrease the drug trade or how to improve the economic situation of the inner city to lessen the appeal to sell drugs to make a living.
THIS is why Black lives matter. It’s all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you only see a criminal when you see me, then you don’t know me. If you support policies like Stop-and-Frisk because you think it helps, then you don’t value my 4th Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure. If your knee-jerk reaction is to shoot me because I tell you I’m armed, you don’t respect my 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. If you advocate for policy or legislation that restricts my right to vote, then you show that you don’t care about my Constitutional rights.
Black America doesn’t want special treatment. Black America wants to be American. That’s it. No more. No less. That’s why I support #BlackLivesMatter. If we allow any single group’s rights to be trampled, then we are not American. I am 100% American, are you?