The most obvious thing is that all people should matter by simply being human. I should not matter more because of the way I look or sound, this principle is simple. The question that we have to ask ourselves however is, is this principle being translated into reality? What is the status quo?
The reality is this, while all lives should matter, we live in a world where some are more equal than others. The world has seen the systemic disenfranchisement of black people not only during the 400 plus years of slavery but 100 years after that and the fragments of those eras are embedded in today’s society legislatively, socially and economically in a more subtle manner generally, and explicit in some contexts. We have to single black lives simply because we have been robbed of resources, opportunities and justice not only in the past but today.
We have seen where one race elevated themselves over one in the past, black people endured the longest period of enslavement and the biggest violation of human rights. Black people were considered as less than human by many ‘scholars’ and treated as such. Through the period of enslavement we were given no access to rights or resources. Countries that had majority black populations were robbed of their resources and reaped no benefits. Imperialist countries mined and took precious minerals and jewelry, they farmed and raped the lands, they controlled the economy and determined what the social narrative should be.
Why is the historical context important?
Four hundred years of slavery set black people back by generations. White people had a four century head start! They had the power to build on their wealth, had access to education and their history. Black people were not given assets, were imprisoned or put to death if they tried to seek an education and was robbed of their history after being displaced from their homelands and watched their libraries and civilizations being burnt to a crisp.
Many white people grew wealthy from a heritage that was left for them by their family, many white people grew up in a stable family system because they did not grow up with a heritage of family displacement, many white people were lucky enough to have access to education and good quality education at that.
Let’s look at the contrast for black people. Fifty years ago black people still were not allowed/ accepted into certain schools, and were only allowed to go to public schools that did not have the proper learning facilities. It is just the other day that black people were not allowed to use the same public facilities as white people, only allowed to take up jobs the elitists allowed them to take; jobs that paid little to nothing. My father is 64 and he grew up under the major racial divides, he worked as a grounds man for white people because that was an ok job in his 20s.
The point is this, The older generation experienced the significant stains of racism, so it means two things:
- The older generation of black people were born with obvious disadvantages which makes it very difficult for their children and grand children to assimilate. The disadvantages could be a lack of education, or broken families or no access to wealth.
- The older generation of white people are the ones that implemented or sustained the systems that were designed to oppress our older black men and women and this could mean that those systems are still in place, it could also mean that have taught their families that the these systems are just. The children and grand children of many of these keepers to the gate of oppression are born with the advantages and the ideologies in many cases. These advantages could be wealth, access to good quality education, a solid family structure and an understanding of white privilege.
Black people were enslaved for 400 years and and systemically disenfranchised even after discovering self autonomy. The older generation left poor systems (social, economic and infrastructural) behind them without even attempting to tear many of them down. The realities of black people in the 1940s and 50s is still largely apart of their realities today. Today the fragments of a broken system still haunt us, the ideology that black people are bad, that they are less than is still floating around and that’s why we still have black men or women being killed like animals for actions that white people also do. “He resisted arrest” are the shouts of the privileged, yet you’ll watch entire videos of white people resisting arrests and not get prosecuted. You’ll see where white people commit similar crimes but are given lesser sentences.
This system is still flawed, so flawed it hurts. Some people will tell us that the police kill more white people and its true, but here is the issue, while they kill 300+ plus white people you occupy 75% of the population, they kill 250+ black people who occupy only 13% of the population, additionally, many of who are killed don’t even deserve to any more than white offenders; say their names!
They then go ahead to complain about black on black crime to justify the brute force of the law. Black on black crimes are grossly exaggerated in the media, but even if we were to take that argument at its best by addressing the issue of black on black crime, have you ever wondered what the root cause of black on black crime is? Again it is systemic oppression; a lack of resources, stable family structure, access to wealth, racism and prejudice.
We should never be treated as less than because of the outcome of the lottery of birth, we are all humans, for all lives to matter, black lives must matter! If we silence the need for black lives to matter, no energy will be used up to ensure that they are included in the “All lives matter” campaign for humanity. We are more than means to an end, we are more than just a color, we are more than just our circumstances; we are human and equally so.