Black Lives Matter!
What a ridiculous slogan. What the heck? Why would anyone adopt that as a slogan? Why alienate yourself by being a member of a group that has to tell people they matter? I’m getting my Mad on. You put that slogan on a bill board, a protester’s sign, a bumper sticker, or a poster and people immediately say, “Well, DUH! Everyone’s life matters!” That’s just the point. They wouldn’t have to proclaim “Black Lives Matter” if everyone acted as if they did. My life matters. I take it for granted. The people around me take it for granted. My African/American friend’s life matters, and he takes it for granted, and the people around him take it for granted, but the people around ME don’t. They lump him into the “other” category or the “everyone” category.
I read an interesting opinion from Reddit about this. The implication by people who identify with the slogan is that it is missing a word. Black Lives Matter, TOO. Native American Lives Matter, TOO. Elderly Lives Matter, TOO. It appears that if you do not belong to a minority, significance in life is only assigned to your group. The minorities are there, but they don’t influence your life in a positive way. They threaten to take away your significance by being significant themselves. How dare they! They may be a political or physical threat, but a threat none-the-less. When people reply with the 1984 language, “Everyone’s life matters” they are in fact denying that a discrimination exists. Let’s examine this.
You’ve probably watched the movie, “The Incredibles.” There’s an undercurrent that there ARE distinctions between people, but putting a value on those distinctions is not a good thing. Why have a race if everyone gets a prize? Why compete if no one keeps score? We are anxious to separate ourselves from the pack, but we shouldn’t because that would infringe on someone else’s self esteem. We do it anyway but we cover it up with a generality. We declare that everyone’s life matters, and we are everyone, and YOU ARE NOT! What really matters? What do people contribute to their society? Do they volunteer to help those in need? Do they teach, train, or mentor people to help them grow? Do they provide a valuable service? Are they part of the vast infrastructure that keeps the community running? That’s what matters, not the color of their skin or their age or the neighborhood where they reside. And yet… I know many people of color that have made very significant impacts on the world around them, and because they are not white, they are dismissed. One is a brilliant architect. This person is female, tiny, and brown and speaks with an accent. She had to go toe to toe with some dummy who dismissed her because he thought she didn’t matter. She had the power to shut down the entire building project, and he thought she didn’t matter. Does that make any sense at all? People in the Black community have to keep telling people that their lives matter because those people who are not black keep thinking they’ve already given blacks the status that they do matter and then treating them as if they didn’t. As an example in the corporate world, it’s like the manager that promotes someone to fill an affirmative action quota and then undermines his authority constantly. “He’s the official manager of this division, but you listen to me instead.” Or it’s like putting all the votes of the freedmen into a jar that never gets delivered to be counted. Why do black votes matter more than black people? The only time the politicians address the problems of blacks is during election campaigns, and then nothing gets done.
So yes. Black Lives Matter, and the fact that we have to be reminded of that fact should make us ashamed.