Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why Black Lives Must Continue to Matter

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

A trip through the archives of this blog reveals that I have discussed the "Black Lives Matter" movement on multiple occasions.  In those postings I have attempted to argue that black lives matter not to the exclusion of other races, but simply as a statement of affirmation.  While some conservatives and social malcontents constantly attempt to downplay the importance of the movement by painting it as something that glorifies "them" and by the same reasoning minimizes "us" -  that really isn't the case at all.

Black lives really do matter, and the reason that statement must stand on its own is that black lives have a long history of being ignored, endangered, and terminated by the majority white elements of society.  For centuries black lives did not matter - at all - and today they remain, at the very least, seriously undervalued.   Yes, white lives matter - they always have.  It's an argument that doesn't have to be made because it's readily apparent.  But black lives matter, too - and to point that out is anything but racist.  Saying that black lives matter is an affirmation of their humanity and human worth.

Perhaps the movement should have coalesced around the motto:  "Black Lives Matter, Too."

"White Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter" are examples of what the media has taken to calling "dog-whistle racism," statements that are true standing alone, but when stapled to rejoinders about the "Black Lives Matter" movement serve as little more than racial taunts.

There is a sign along a major roadway close to where I live that declares "Blue Lives Matter," an obvious nod to police.  Law enforcement is a necessary and important part of society, no one denies that, but the "Black Lives Matter" movement was been born of the brutalization and deaths of members of the black community by rogue police officers who hopefully do not represent the norm of their departments.  Yes, blue lives do matter, but so do basic human rights - and the safety and lives of America's black citizens - people who have been ignored and kept on the edges of society for far too long by the force of unequally applied law.

"Black Lives Matter" isn't a statement of independence or a call to arms, it is a plea for understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and unity.   When we reach the point where we can welcome all of our brothers and sisters with open arms - regardless of their skin color, language, or religion - we will be able to move forward into better times - times when all lives actually do matter.

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