Sometimes it takes a friend posting a well intentioned meme in social media platform to ignite our thoughts around an issue. What often results is a candid response of feelings that can turn ugly when respect isn’t a priority. The following is an honest response to the above image in regards to black lives matter, originally posted on Facebook. We publish here with the permission of the author in the hopes of contributing to the dialogue and offering space to a multitude or perspectives.
by Yoshua Shelton
It’s a shame there isn’t a clever meme for All Lives Matter, and instead arguments for ALM and against supporting BLM rely on emotionally unrewarding, deeply philosophical ideas that can’t be summed up in cute memes about tacos, or broken bones, or whatever. Arguments like how BLM is ripe for hijacking by fringe elements, as we just witnessed, because it shares in the most valued of terrorism’s traits: exclusivity.
Anyone with federal or military experience in today’s counter-terrorism environment knows that the driving force behind terrorism is always exclusivity- I matter more than you because X. Exclusivity means that I can make you less human than me, and I only need the tiniest excuse for you to matter less than I do. Are the majority of BLM supporters terrorists? No, not even close. But some are, and 5 cops and 2 bystanders just died in Dallas for it. Two cops in New York, executed in their patrol vehicle. Countless other minor or full-fledged assaults under the banner of BLM.
Representative of the entire movement? No. But the movement allows it to happen, even if unwittingly. See, it’s real hard to kill someone while shouting, “All Lives Matter!”. But when you put race at the forefront, well now I’ve got a reason to believe my life matters just a little bit more than you- and that’s all I need really. Minority events no doubt, but not only is each act of terrorism under the BLM banner a tragedy, it further alienates BLM from the non-supporters it is trying to sway.
Secondly, BLM has become in large part a sycophantic cult. You’re not allowed to tell a BLM supporter that a publicized video taped incident was actually proper use of force. You’re not allowed to even suggest that not every single encounter by a white police officer and a black man ends in the officer’s guilt. You’re not allowed to point out that in the course of their duty, sometimes use of force is perfectly justified. You’re not allowed to do any of that because it makes you a racist or an apologist for the ‘police state’.
Nobody wants to hear it, because it makes them ideologically uncomfortable to consider that the world is not black and white, but rather shades of gray. That’s not a BLM failing though- it’s a human one.
To date I have seen exactly one BLM supporter speak out in defense of a videotaped police officer using deadly force against a black suspect, and he was absolutely crucified for it. Even despite his years of support for BLM, or the fact that he himself was black, or his own near two decades experience in law enforcement. Professional expertise is irrelevant with most BLM supporters, as apparently is race if you aren’t touting the party line.
With ALM, that type of mentality is impossible because you are right off the bat being asked to respect both lives in any given scenario. Not to prioritize, and not to diminish, but to look at both equally before casting objective judgement.
Third, BLM completely misses the point of its own movement. BLM has become nothing more than a self-masturbatory celebration between like-minded ideologues. BLM doesn’t change anyone’s minds, because it doesn’t engage the minds that actually need changing: ‘diet’ racists. See, full-fledged racists aren’t going to have their minds changed, nor are they really a problem. Today it’s easy to shut down a full-fledged, nigger-hating, cross-burning racist. They are the fringe of the entire racist sickness.
The core of the racist problem are the ‘diet’ racists. Racists who don’t necessarily have outright hostile intent towards blacks, but who simply marginalize police violence against blacks and believe it to legitimately be a non-issue. This type of disregard is symptomatic of our nation, and far more dangerous than the public racist because the public racist will never hold office. He or she will never be in a position to enact legislature, or dictate/change police procedure. These are the weak core of America, and the people that need to be engaged and re-educated, but BLM doesn’t do that, because BLM’s very title alienates and threatens them. It excludes them.
BLM’s attitude towards police use of force and lack of objectivity further makes them believe the Fox News dialogue that BLM are just organized thugs or white hipsters with nothing better to do. These are exactly the people who will quote you back that twice as many whites are killed by police as blacks every year- and they are not wrong, the figure is factually correct. But as a BLM protester, sharing memes insulting the intentions and intelligence of ALM, you are not a person they are going to listen to when you tell them, “Yes your figures are correct, but due to population sizes blacks face 1.8 times greater chance of police violence than whites, despite having 1/3 the population.”
You are not someone they are going to listen to, because you’ve alienated them and the causes they believe in, which is that cop’s lives matter too.
Lastly, the constant racist accusations against ALM that it exists to silence blacks is ironic really, for a group that pledges itself to combat racism, or the idea that casting judgement without knowledge of character or proof of deed and only based off the color of your skin is wrong. I’m white, I support ALM- clearly I’m trying to silence the black movement. Right? Despite the fact that half of my family is black because I was adopted. Does that make me black enough to avoid suspicion? You see how this conversation gets disgusting?
The rest of the accusations that ALM can’t possibly champion the cause of statistically aberrant police violence towards blacks is just an insult to human intelligence, and once again plays to the racist mindset that unless color is at the forefront, somehow we as modern Americans can’t possibly care enough to demand change.
Meanwhile, ALM supporters are marginalized, stereotyped as conniving racists, or outright attacked- because the content of your character doesn’t matter. Objectivity doesn’t matter. Only #blacklivesmatter.
Sent from my iPhone