Black men have understood police brutality and abuse for centuries.
Most, if not all of us, have had to deal with the hyper scrutiny of police as a part of life, I’ve known it through verbal testimonies of grandfathers, uncles, cousins, friends and coworkers. I’ve become impatient with the discussion because there’s always a counter-narrative that justifies police behavior.
In spite of social media allowing anyone the ability to now PROVE the subjective nature of police, there still is defending discussion of the mistreatment of black people.
A close friend spent an early morning, 1AM, responding to a woman about BLM. I love her response…it provides patience and understanding to a problem black men know all to well.
The response grants patience where I’ve exhausted mine.
“…the reason that many people are protesting (at times even violently- and this is assuming that all of the “violence” is done by BLM supporters/protesters because in many cases it is not- is because Black people have spent decades trying to have conversation and education. PEOPLE ARE GETTING KILLED AND HUNTED DOWN IN THE STREETS!! PEOPLE ARE USING THEIR GENDER AND WHITE RACE AND WEAPONIZING IT (Ie. Amy Cooper against chrsitian Cooper in Central Park) And this is all done with reckless disregard of any pursuit of justice and acts are swept under the rug as “procedure” or with justifiable cause. It is only after people protest when incidents are properly investigated. Sometimes all we want is a proper investigation! There have been documentaries, movies, speeches, campaigns, news reports, and straight pleas, you name it- and no one seems to listen. So like many things in life, sometimes you have to scream to be heard. That is the only time when people stop and listen. So while I don’t condone the “violence” or anything related to it, I do think people are tired and talking is not getting anywhere. NO ONE LISTENS.
I live in Washington DC- and do well for myself and my daughter is in a private school and I am a lawyer and a professor at a University but I can give you an entire book chapter about the ways either myself or my family members (all equally educated and financially secure ) have suffered merely because of the color of our skin. This is not only about police brutality, but about systemic racism which impacts economic prosperity- this is why many “smart blacks” cannot get ahead. Our country and its system are not designed for us to get ahead. And I am not writing from a “victim” perspective. I’m considered as someone who is “making it”. Take a look at the 13th amendment. It abolished slavery except for while imprisoned. And that might be ok except for the fact that Black and brown people are imprisoned differently and at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Post slavery it started with the Black code (if you don’t know- look it up) then later segued to Jim Crow laws and now it has morphed into mass incarceration as a result of way Black and brown people are charged with crimes and later sentenced. While we may have the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act 1965 there have been current attempts (and some success) to dismantle pieces of that. Redlining still exists. Redistricting based on race (but of course they don’t say it’s for race) still exists. And while BLM missions stems from brutalities by vigilantes (Ie. Trayvon Martin or Ahmad Arbery ) or police (George Floyd and sooooo many others to name), the affects of the “cause” stems farther. I invite you do some objective research rather than simply looking at the heightened emotions that follow a killling, then you will see the broader cause. https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/
And John Yawn This is NOT about Black on Black crime because we are not discussing the systems that place people in such a degree of dispair that result in such acts (and I am so tired of hearing that argument- Black on Black crime has nothing to do with police brutality and to a lesser extent, two wrongs don’t make a right). This is really about the fact that you cannot have a whole (All Lives) without a part (Black Lives). It is the fact that most people, and in most cases, white people, have the privilege, power and standing of being able to separate themselves to be able to make such a dismissive comment. In essence, if it doesn’t affect you, then You can deflect. Or to say that “the blacks are just as smart..”. (The audacity of that comment is astounding, by the way!!) I don’t think anyone is looking for validation of their intellect. I know i surely am not. At the very least, my 3 degrees gives me that validation among other things. But the thing is, none of my pedigree matters if I get pulled over by the police. It doesn’t matter where i graduated from , what kind of car in drive or who my kid goes to school with, or how many properties I own. What matters in that instant is how I submit (notice i say submit- because submission is what is required) myself before an authority figure who wants to make sure that i know that they have complete authority over me and everything that happens from that point. And that reality of inherent fear is extremely unique to black and brown people. And when my 10 year old highly privileged child can take note of this, and can speak about it in school when they are asked to speak about a time where they have experienced or witnessed racism, then it is something to take consider.
So Black Lives DO Matter. And whether you want to outwardly support the group or not (and note, I am not a “member” of the group) it is important to completely educate yourself. Watch The 13th on Netflix. Read the New Jim Crow or the Color of Law. There are countless others. Then talk to severel African Americans (both men and women) about their experiences. And to be honest, many of us are still processing our experiences because there are some things that happened during our youth that we didn’t even realize were problems until you look back on them. We are now realizing how these experiences have shaped our perspectives. (It’s kind of like the rape victim who didn’t realize that they had been raped). And know that Black people are not monoliths- we do not all have the same experience.
Come to DC and really experience the National African American Museum of History and culture. Go back the next day. Go back the next day (you can’t do it all in one day- or two- or three). And then talk to people again.
We Black people know white culture- we live it every day. We learned it in school and now are trying to unlearn it because we realize how narrow the perspective was. It’s time for you all to take the time to learn ours (and don’t look for us to teach you because that is exhausting too— and some of us are still learning). I hope this gives you another perspective.”
Please do as I did…copy/past this response when people find some reason to contradict BLM.
Thank you Nicole!