If All Lives Matter in our society, there wouldn’t be such disparate experiences of violence or of poverty along racial lines. Yet an examination of crime statistics, of poverty statistics, of education statistics, of employment statistics and so forth, shows that clearly our society does not act as if All Lives Matter … or, at least, do not matter as much as other lives.
“Black Lives Matter” is a necessary mantra, no matter how imperfect those who chant this slogan. Black Americans are disproportionately the victims of violence, of an imbalanced justice system, and of all kinds of social and economic struggles, of a direct and evil legacy of slavery and of Jim Crow and of all the ways that racism has manifested itself in our society.
“Black Lives Matter” shakes us from our resignation to, and tacit acceptance of, a broken society that lets such disproportionate violence and suffering happen to one group of people … for generation upon generation.
“Black Lives Matter” reminds us that we cannot accept a society where one class, one group of people struggle so. much. more. than others.
“Black Lives Matter” calls us on the fact that, as a society, we have conducted our affairs as if Black Lives Do Not Matter … or at least, do not matter as much as other lives (3/5ths, perhaps?).
Black Lives – lives which our society has too often disregarded and devalued – Matter. Why is such a statement so divisive? Perhaps because we don’t want to face our own racism, past and present.
“Blacks Lives Matter” says just that. Black lives matter. It does not say that other lives do not matter. It does not say that Black Lives Matter more. No. It just says that Black Lives Matter. Period. And this is a truth that our society seems to have forgotten … or perhaps never quite knew in the first place.
“Black Lives Matter” may be an imperfect movement (show me a “perfect” movement,
please). But it is an important truth. If we are to be a society of liberty and justice, a society that some claim is Christian, we will embrace a slogan that lifts up the value and dignity of those that our society has historically devalued, and we will demand liberty and justice for those to whom it has been delayed and denied.
“Black Lives Matter.” It needs to be said in a society that too often has conducted its affairs as if Black Lives Do Not Matter.
Even if Especially because it is hard to hear.
5 thoughts on “If All Lives Mattered, There Wouldn’t Be #BlackLivesMatter”
This is most certainly true. Amem
I would respectfully suggest that until all Black lives matter within the Black community as well things aren’t likely to change. I am the wife of a retired police officer who worked in an urban environment plagued with crime. I am blessed that he made it to retirement, some of his good friends and former partners did not. Some died on the job under very violent circumstances leaving grieving widows and children behind. It is very frustrating for cops when local residents refuse to identify the criminals in their neighborhood because they don’t want to be seen as “snitches”; it is also very frustrating when some of those criminals are better armed than the police. Are there bad apples in the profession? To be sure. Show me a profession
that doesn’t have them. But I saw firsthand the toll modern police work takes on those who serve and I would suggest that anyone who wants to get a fair and balanced view of what goes on in a 24 hour period, ride along and see for yourselves. There’s a reason cops have one of the highest rates of alcoholism and divorce in their profession. There was a report on our local news a day ago that police departments are seeing a lowering of eligible recruits for their departments. I am not surprised. As a Lutheran immigrant to this country I know something about being a stranger in a strange land and yes, ALL lives matter.
I do understand your concerns. Yes, being a police officer is a tough profession. Not only are they potentially putting their lives at risk, but they’re dealing with people’s everyday drama on a daily basis. That would be enough to drive anyone crazy. I get that. However, I think you’re missing the point of this article and not seeing the other side of this whole issue. First and foremost, as public servants, police officers are supposed to be here to protect and serve…everyone. They are given positions of authority, which they should, but that authority is not to be abused. The problem is that many of officers have done just that. Abuse their authority, and often at the expense at someone’s health or even their lives and their victims and their families, often minorities get no say in the matter and as demonstrated in several murders public beatings, etc…, which were filmed last year and publicized in the news, many of these cops get away with it. If I were living in an environment where time and time again, I my family and peers were subject to constant harassment, especially because of the color of my skin, on top of living in poverty, I would have the same amount of cynicism and resentment toward those who are supposed to be protecting my rights.
Do people who commit crimes deserve to do time in jail or prison? Absolutely, as long as they ARE guilty of it. Do they deserve to get gang beaten by a gang of cops, or shot full of holes, just because they’re running away, or choked to death, because or just because the officer was in a bad mood? Absolutely NOT!!! You said, “Are there bad apples in the profession? To be sure. Show me a profession that doesn’t have them.” We’ll you’re right about that. But when someone’s in a position of authority, they have an even bigger responsibility to maintain pubic safety and to protect our rights, and includes, NOT to using lethal force, unless it is absolutely necessary. This is something that everyone who even considers being a police officer should readily accept, from the get-go. When an officer of the law abuses that authority, they become no better than the thugs they go after and in fact, they become part of the problem.
Oh I think I’ve seen both sides of the issue quite well. We live in the suburban Cleveland area and there have been several fatal shootings of young Black children recently. Very tragic, and local Black clergy are once again lamenting the murder of these innocents caught in the crossfire of Black gang activity and acknowledging the responsibility of the local communty to call them out. Cleveland is fortunate in having a very competent and intelligent Black Chief of Police who looks out for the community and his officers. I am not defending rogue cops by any means but would submit that there are far fewer of them than those officers who try to do their jobs properly, Most civilians have no clue as to the split seconds a cop has to determine if his or someone else’s life is in danger. Most officers are well aware that society has authorized them to carry lethal weapons and the solemn responsibility that entails. Long before he became a cop my husband learned that lesson serving as a Marine in Viet Nam. Cops who betray their profession should be immediately removed. At the same time, if all lives truly matter then let’s see more public support in those instances when a police officer is gunned down in the performance of his duty, as happened to a well respected young officer in Cleveland several years ago. Working a single patrol car he had no partner to back him up and approached a car he had stopped for a routine traffic violation. Turned out that the driver had a felony criminal warrant outstanding and thinking that the officer was going to apprehend him on that basis he shot and killed him instantly as the officer approached him. The officer left a wife and three children behind. Until you have walked in those shoes . . .
There’s an excellent analysis on the U.S. News and World Report by Peter Rolff entitled “Obama Needs to Say Police Lives Matter”. Considering the recent spate of murders of police officers this side of the story also deserves a hearing.
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