“Every problem comes with hidden opportunity to grow” Rupal Asodaria
ALL LIVES DO matter, that’s true. ALL of OUR lives have purpose and value. Yet, this pure and simple concept is NOT openly embraced or even recognized by Whites that view themselves as superior, and as a result, Blacks, in the 1950s and 1960s, marched and protested to have the same basic opportunities and rights afforded to whites. The right to earn the same wages. The right to the same education. The right to drink from the same water fountain. The right to enter through the front door. The right to sit at the same lunch counter, the right to sit in the front of the bus, and the right to vote. Those demands were heard and the Civil rights movement was born. The civil rights movement served as the first reminder and acknowledgment that BLACK LIVES Matter.
The protests in the 1960s were effective because they ended state-supported racism in the South making the United States a liberal democracy in which African Americans could fully participate in. But, civil rights didn’t change the hearts, and minds of its citizenry. Instead, a “massive resistance” by whites in the South emerged and they used state and vigilante violence to ensure things remained the same. Their actions proved that they didn’t believe that ALL lives matter and certainly refused to acknowledge that BLACK LIVES Matter.
Race expert and teacher, Jane Elliott through experiments educate individuals on the impacts of racism in America. Jane, a white woman, in an experiment entitled, “Being Black” speaks to an all-white audience. Jane asked the audience that if they as white people would be happy to receive the same treatment that Black people in this society receive, to please stand. NO one stood. She re-phrased the question and still, NO one stood. Jane informed them that their unwillingness to stand is an admission that they know what’s happening to Black people and didn’t want that kind of treatment for themselves. She then asks them why then are they willing to accept it or to allow the mistreatment of others to happen? Jane’s experiment proves that white people are cognizant about the injustices and mistreatment thrust upon African Americans but ignore it which once again infers they don’t believe that ALL lives matter, and must continually be reminded to acknowledge that BLACK LIVES Matter.
Although the Civil Rights movement has changed the lives of many African Americans, there are still systemic disparities that are deeply ingrained and rooted in America, one of which is police brutality. The problem of police brutality against blacks has existed for decades, but in recent years these occurrences have been televised for the world to see. It was the tragic cellphone footage captured by a 17-year-old that would unify the nation to take a stand against police brutality and racism when she taped the murder of a handcuffed African American man-George Floyd on the streets of Milwaukee. The video showed a white officer, with his hands in his pocket, looking nonchalantly into the camera as he held his knee on George’s neck until he took his last breath- 8 minutes and 46 seconds later.
His smugness was the last straw. It was the fuel that would send hundreds of thousands of African Americans and an assortment of other ethnicities to the streets to once again protest and demand justice. In the midst of a global pandemic, these protests are taking place in all 50 states in America and all across the nation- Europe, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Siberia, and are similar in many ways to the protest of the 1960s because they are STILL about police and vigilante violence, and other injustices and disparities against African American men and women. They are also reminiscent of the hate and “massive resistance” to equality that protestors are encountering by whites. This is indicative that some whites still don’t believe that ALL lives matter and clearly explains why people need a reminder and acknowledgment that Black Lives do Matter.
It’s ridiculously sad that in 2020 Blacks in America are still fighting and demanding the same basic liberties, rights, and privileges not afforded to us. It has been impossible for America to fairly and equitably slice and distribute equally the proverbial American Pie, so Black Lives Matter is a reminder and acknowledgment that we’ll cut our own slice by keeping at its forefront the systemic abuses of power by law enforcement, white privilege, and the racist efforts to legitimize police and vigilante violence by criminalizing black victims. To a country that has robbed –Negroes, Colored, Blacks, African Americans– the Black Lives Matter movement serves as a reminder an acknowledgment that our lives are equally important and MATTER TOO.
SHIP TALK: How so you feel about the occurrences and protest happening around the country.
If you’d like to leave a comment, please scroll down to the bottom of the page.