“Black Lives Matter” is seemingly a simple statement of fact. To disagree with such notion would be the mark of a racist.
But BLM is not just a slogan. It is also the name of an organized movement, and it is sometimes perceived to be a racist sentiment itself as it may imply that non-Black lives don’t matter. It is important to unpack each of these at this time of social unrest and rioting after the killing of George Floyd.
The BLM Movement
The BLM movement has a range of statements and demands which are disturbing. To highlight a few from it’s website:
- Defunding the police. While people are justifiably angry at specific actions of police brutality, the call for “a national defunding of police,” is a call for pure anarchy. It is unsafe, unwise and an assault on everyone.
- Anti-“family”. The BLM agenda seeks to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” People should be free to live a life of their choosing so the desire to fight against a “traditional” two-parent family is immoral, and is also counterproductive when studies and statistics have shown consistently that children raised in such a structure do better.
- Anti-Israel. The movement states that Israel is committing a “genocide… against the Palestinian people” and that “Israel is an apartheid state.” That’s not just outrageously incorrect; it is insulting to Blacks in South Africa who suffered under genuine apartheid and Holocaust survivors who faced a true genocide.
In short, one can be a believer in the inherent value of Black lives but loudly denounce the radical movement.
BLM versus All Lives Matter
It is a truism that all lives matter, whether Black, Brown, White or Yellow. If someone arbitrarily states that “Yellow Lives Matter,” the comment and person would likely be scorned as it would appear elitist and racist. However, to state that “Black Lives Matter” in reaction to hate crimes against Blacks is appropriate. It is a directly relevant statement about a racist situation.
Consider a discussion about the Holocaust. While there were non-Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II including homosexuals, Catholics, Poles and Roma, they were not the obsession and target for annihilation the way that Jews were, and did not suffer so horribly. While It is perfectly fine to have a discussion about Nazis killing thousands of gays, it is inappropriate to insert such a discussion in the middle of a Holocaust Memorial focused on Jews.
Yes, all lives matter, but when engaging in a discussion with people in a moment of pain and reflection, it is important to give them their space to concentrate on their trauma. It is a time for empathy, not self-absorption.
“Black Lives Matter” is a true declaration that should be given the appropriate space at this time, which in no way undermines the general fact that all lives matter. It is also true that the statement echoes the name of a radical movement which advances horrible ideas which should be shunned. Perhaps a different expression like “Blacks Are Just As Innocent Until Proven Guilty,” might appeal to a basic American credo and unite everyone to concentrate on the legal system to advance and perfect a just society.
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