The recent article concerning Black Lives Matter focuses on “truth.” The writer believes that the truth at hand is that BLM is based on a fallacious worldview. A worldview that is rooted in lies and—as he points out—lies kill. I agree that an erroneous worldview being held by a large group of people is potentially dangerous. Viewing the world as something that can be bent and manipulated to your will is dangerous. Denying facts and statistics can be dangerous and promoting hate, lies, and biases, can all be dangerous. Ironically, as the writer urged his readers to be wary of some of these dangers, he was simultaneously committing them. Black Lives Matter is not a hate group. Just like in any group, there are radical members who perform actions that do not reflect the goals of the majority. Judging the entirety of a group based on the minority is an incredibly flawed approach. To liken BLM to a group founded in hate, like the KKK, is just ridiculous.
This position highlights a bigger issue. Why is it that BLM must be held accountable for the actions of the few? Normally radicals are just that, radicals. I mean, doesn’t the word “radical” suggest that their views are not that of the majority? I do not condone the vengeful killing of police officers and neither does BLM. In the same way that one officer’s actions do not reflect the entire occupation, the same courtesy and argument must extend to other groups. The issue is not that people of the movement inherently believe that police are racists. The very name Black Lives Matter says nothing of the police themselves. It focuses on the issue of black lives being lost in encounters with policemen.
I do not consider myself a member of the BLM movement. Although I agree with the mission of BLM, I am not one to get involved in movements. I am not that active of a person. I say this to demonstrate that even as someone that doesn’t identify with the movement, I still see the issues facing us. At the end of the day, people are being killed unnecessarily in some of these encounters. Regardless of their past they were a human being; they were a person that mattered to someone. They were beloved children, fathers, uncles, cousins…and now they are gone.
Attacking BLM for the violent minority misses what the point of the whole movement is; it also exemplifies and magnifies why it needs to exist. There seems to be a phenomenon where Blacks in America are held accountable for actions of the few. In his book, “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates points out this issue: “Indeed, you must be responsible for the worst actions of other black bodies, which, somehow, will always be assigned to you.” Simply equating the movement with violence denies and degrades the experience and perspective of those in it. It denies the existence of bigger issues. It denies the very feelings that motivate people. It denies an experience that is central to the identity of a person. We are our experiences of the world and that can never be taken from us. It is something we hold sacrosanct and must protect with the utmost necessity. This is why BLM exists.
There are African Americans who feel threatened by the treatment of other people of similar characteristics. As a black male myself, it is impossible for me to distance myself from the other black males who have been killed. Sure, I have never been arrested; I have never had a problem with the police. But none of that matters in this context. My history is not readily available to anyone upon first encounter. You cannot see my past by simply looking at me. What people can see is my gender and the color of my skin, and those defining traits link me to many of the same people that have become martyrs for BLM.
BLM is a natural response to the many threats that challenge our experience. We seek to affirm ourselves. In this movement, people are saying that we matter. Nothing more or less. And, we do matter. Whether you agree with BLM or not is one thing. I believe there is a certain heaviness to the idea that any group feels the need to exclaim their presence and remind the world of the inalienable rights that come with existing.