It happened again this morning…
A Facebook post that I figured was dead was revitalized by someone on the far right instructing me on why the people in the “Black Lives Matter” movement are racist. As usual, the assertions made in this comment are so commonly repeated that I felt like I have to correct a lot of them.
As most of you know, I am not at all comfortable telling people how Black people think. I rarely discuss BLM for a simple reason; I am not Black, and I will never know what it’s like for a Black person living in the United States of America. However, a lot of racist white people have to understand at least some of what it’s like to be in the racist United States. I love my country a lot, and I’m very patriotic, but we cannot be great until we get a grip on the one thing that divides this nation more than any other, and that is the idea that white people are inherently superior to people of color, especially Blacks.
Here’s what he wrote:
“If the term “lives matter” has a color in front of it, period , you’re a racist. I’ve talked to alot of BLM members and many of their statements are overwhelmingly racist. Like , they think I should give up my home and give it to a black family. Nevermind the fact that it would cause me to be homeless. Nevermind the fact that I killed myself to have it. They have also said that white people should give up their jobs and give them to black people. Why has BLM not started any programs to help blacks. Why haven’t they put any of the money they raised back into black communities ???
If we are going to defeat racism, everything must me absolutely equal across the board. No color is greater or more deserving than another. We’re all the same color on the inside. All lives matter period !!!”
From the first sentence of this, this comment is so over-broad and clueless as to make me laugh. The idea that this guy has “talked to alot (sic) of BLM members” is a bit of a joke, since no one who has spoken to any members of the Black Lives Matter movement would ever have written the first sentence. As I pointed out in my response, he clearly has no idea what racism actually is because he’s defining it the same as prejudice and bigotry. It is possible for a Black man to be a bigot and it’s possible for him to be prejudiced, but no Black men in this country have the power to be racist.
And no, don’t give me the dictionary definition of racism, which has been way off for more than 50 years. Racism – real racism – requires the racist to have power and to use that power to hold down the racial target. It is a simple fact that white people have power and privilege and Black people just do not. “White privilege” is not just an abstract concept, it’s a fact.
The FACT is, white people do not have to worry about being targeted and harassed by law enforcement because of their skin color, whereas Black people do. When’s the last time aa police officer knelt on a white man’s neck for allegedly passing a bad $20 until he lost breath and died?ow many times have police targeted a white man for being white and skated? When I came back from overseas a few years back, why was I allowed to go through the customs line without anyone checking my bags for contraband? How many white people are followed closely by store security simply because they’re white?
All of that is racist and it is embedded so deeply in our system that it’s seen as a fact of life. If you have ever driven through a “black neighborhood’ and instinctively locked your car doors, you have reacted to the innate racism that hangs over this country like a big, thick blanket.
And let’s be clear, all of us want to end racism. That’s what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about. No one has ever said or implied that “Only” Black Lives Matter, and no one has implied that white people should be made to give up their homes, as this guy claims. The entire movement is all about Black people having the same rights that white people already enjoy, like the right to be able to walk down a public street without being treated as if you have already committed a crime. No Black man wants you to hand over your home to a Black family, but if you decide to sell it, they want to have an equal chance to buy it, without everyone assuming they are tax cheats and/or fraudsters.
Likewise, no Black person has ever demanded that a white person with a job give it up to someone Black or brown; that’s all just racist conjecture, with no basis in fact. It could be based on what white racists would do to Black people if the roles were switched, but it’s not realistic.
As for him telling me how we can combat racism, I can only say, “Bullshit.” We can’t fix a societal problem unless we acknowledge it, which means we have to acknowledge that racism is hard-wired into American society. It will be necessary for ALL white people to get over the notion that white people are inherently superior to People of Color and to take positive steps to bring equality to everyone. Not just equality on paper and in the law, but equality in every way. And, as the comment above proves, too many white people are just not ready.
Black Lives Matter is a movement that is essentially a request. Right now, Black lives don’t matter to many elements of this society. However, they should matter. None of us should stop working for equality until “white privilege” has become “American privilege.”