Posts Tagged ‘BLM’

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the United States of America has been thrust back into the spotlight with two very high profiled police shootings of Black men – Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota. These acts have personally hurt me greatly but I have been trying very hard to not make any grand comment on this new wave of outrage. Today that came to an abrupt end as one letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Jamaica Observer “draw mi out” in the Jamaican vernacular.

The letter went down the increasingly popular road that the now popular Black Lives Matter movement is not only racist but akin to the Ku Klux Klan. that is where my restraint ended. Below is a version of a letter to the editor I immediately drafted in response.

I must confess a lot more could be said and I know I could have structured the response much better but as the words of the original letter (link below) really upset me I cannot say that my mind was operating at full capacity.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Black-Lives-Matter-movement-is-racist-_66851

Here goes…

Dear Editor,

I usually read the letters in your publication and nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement and move on but today is not that day. One regular letter writer, like many tend to do, has transgressed by way of distorting facts and oversimplification. Put simply the letter of July 12, 2016 entitled “Black Lives Matter is Racist!” was just short of a joke. To say that the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) is racist is clearly a misunderstanding of history as well as the reasons it emerged and how the group operates.

If I recall correctly the group emerged formally out of a twitter hashtag campaign which engendered so much support after a series of high profile and dare I say unjustified killings of young black men none more so glaring than the snuffing out of the lives of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. These were the latest in a long history of state excess against Black Americans in the great ‘Merica which continues almost unabated. As a response to these atrocities mainly young black people took the stance that enough is enough.

Now the letter writer has decided that this group is racist on two main accounts:

1)      It is not up in arms about the recent killing of five police officers in Dallas Texas and

2)      It should be using “All Lives Matter.”

Honestly not even sure which of the two claims is more ridiculous. Firstly, let’s take an analogy – would you gatecrash a funeral and tell those grieving that “I too have felt loss.” Or if there is a breast cancer rally going one would you interrupt it under the banner of “but people have AIDS too”? No you wouldn’t. There are multiple issues that exist simultaneously and the fact that persons are seeking to speak out on matters that are of existential importance to them does not make them racist. Never mind that all official BLM operatives I am aware of have cried foul on the murder of the Dallas police officers, that is a fact that is inconvenient to simplistic arguments. The kind of simplistic arguments that do not countenance that we can both denounce the senseless killing of these officers and demand justice and critique law enforcement when they stray into the realm of excess.

This is the thing, in the history of the world only black people are asked to tone down or apologise for not accepting atrocities meted out to them. All lives matter as a mantra spits in the face of the fact that the history of the USA in particular shows that the lives of Black people have mattered very little. And a news flash for the “All Lives Matter” crowd no-one saying Black Lives Matter has ever said ONLY Black lives matter or white lives should matter less, it is a simple cry for Black lives to matter equally recognizing that until they do then it is impossible to say ALL Lives Matter.

The objective facts are there, hundreds of people of colour, particularly black people have died at the hands of the state with impunity. At the same time several very dangerous white offenders have been in standoffs with the police that have been skillfully de-escalated so that they can rightly be arrested and ALIVE. All lives matter? As an ideal that is like saying the sky is blue, but it is unfortunately not the reality at this time.

Any person who cannot see this is willfully ignorant of history and facts.

Even worse the writer goes on to compare the KKK and BLM saying black groups “promoting the interests of black people” are no different from those “promoting the interests of white people.” Anyone who wishes to explicitly or implicitly define the KKK as a group “promoting the interests of white people” and at the same time equating Black Lives Matter, and by subtle implication, the long list of past Black Civil Rights organizations cannot and should not be taken seriously on this matter.  Like honestly, lynching people and burning crosses on their front lawns were all a part of protecting the “interests of white people.” Gimme a break.

I am tired of seeing black people forced to apologise for asking, and when fed up, demanding to be treated as human beings. If that is the new definition for racist sign me up and ship me my Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

Selah.

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