**Reposted from Shannon Hall-Bulzone’s personal blog, Married While Black.**
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. The lives of police have always been more valued in this country, from the days when it was a crime for a slave to runaway, down to the 60’s when the police turned on the fire hoses and released their German Shepherds against peaceful protestors during the Civil Rights Movement. Police lives do matter – but police arent the ones being taken into custody and having their spines severed inexplicably. Police are the ones who are off duty and still manage to fear for their lives and shoot a woman in the back of her head (Rekia Boyd). Police, sworn to SERVE AND PROTECT are the ones killing black men who are frightened and in need of medical attention after the scene of an accident (Jonathan A. Ferrell).
All Lives Matter. Well, no the fuck they dont. Because if they did, the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s wouldn’t have taken place, Malcolm X would have never been necessary, and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldnt have been assasinated. Ten thousand people marching in Baltimore could go on with their lives and not spend their time passionately marching and chanting about the disparity in value between black lives and white lives in this country.
If all lives mattered, Mike Brown would be awaiting his due process of law. Emmett Till would be enjoying his life with his grandchildren. Medger Evers would have lived a long life. Harriet Tubman wouldnt have operated the Underground Railroad. Native Americans wouldn’t have walked the Trail of Tears. Chinese immigrants and their American born children wouldn’t have been exiled to work camps in California. Examples of all lives NOT mattering span back to the beginning of this country. So now, in 2015 when the voices of the oppressed are uplifted in rage, desperation and anguish – white people decide to placate us with the phrase All Lives Matter. Well, open a history book – get comfortable with the fact that all lives do not matter. People of color have had this reality shoved down their throats, whether they’re born here or immigrate here in search of a better life. It’s high time you as a white person admit this fact to yourself as well.
Are all cops racist perpetuators of brutality against people of color? No. Are all people of color savage beasts who revel in lawlessness? No. To even have to say this detracts from the conversation. Don’t try to ameloriate a horrible condition of systemic racism by speaking in absolutes. Of course not ALL cops are bad. That is not the point – the point is the bad ones consistently kill and go free. The point is the bad ones make the good ones look bad. The point is people of color don’t know who to trust in a uniform. The point is when you’re pulled over as a black man, you dont know whether you are about to speak to Mr. Good Cop with common sense or Mr. Good Ol’ Boy who distrusts and dislikes black people. Learning not to trust the authorities is something people of color do because we are scared.for.our.lives.
Do you know what that fear looks like? It looks like being pulled over and when the officer asks for your license, you narrate to him that it’s in your back pocket or glove compartment so he doesnt assume you’re reaching for a weapon. It looks like a mother passionately slapping her son in public so he doesnt end up like Freddie Gray.
Black lives matter. And this is where I start to get angry, so if you’re into tone policing and need the words you read to be wrapped with a pretty and polite bow – the rest of this isn’t for you.
If you are concerned with buildings, burning pharmacies, people breaking the law more than you are concerned with the black lives that have been lost at an alarming rate at the hands of white people – you are a fucking racist.
If your concern and fear is for the police who voluntarily choose to serve and protect as their profession and turn a blind eye when an officer beats or kills a black person, if you dont protest that injustice with the same passion you do a riot – you are a fucking racist.
I dont understand why white people need to interject themselves centerstage of an issue and take the conversation over. We can’t have shit to ourselves. White people appropriate our style, our music (looking at you Taylor, Katy and Iggy), our slang. Everyone wants to be black, but nobody wants to be black.
Black lives matter is not about you, and that’s the way we like it. The statement black lives matter does NOT MEAN your life is any less valuable. It means there are lives, there are people aching and hurting to have the same damn worth in this country that you have as a white person. You are already valued. Do you mind if we attempt to attain the same value you have been blessed with since you were born with a lily white ass? Or does that scare you because it must mean you will have to give up some of your white power? You’re wrong, by the way if you think elevating another means you are diminished. You’re wrong, you’re selfish, and you’re fucking petty.
This country was founded for you. Neighborhoods were built for you and blacks were kept out. Businesses were opened by loans only given to white people, and those businesses kept black people out. My great-grandfather was killed, murdered in his store for operating successfully and providing competition to a store that would only serve you. My grandfather was run out of town with his brothers and fled Georgia to New York because he was tipped off they were coming for him – because his business was a success as well. You, white women, white men are valued in the workplace where you make more than your black counterparts with equal education. Universities were built for you and kept us out. Are you really so damn blind to think that just because those things occurred in the past they have no bearing on today? Wake the fuck up. Black Lives Matter is the alarm clock, and there is no snooze button. You’ve been asleep long enough.
Instead of flippantly posting #alllivesmatter or #policelivesmatter, you should be asking yourself why the #blacklivesmatter movement makes you feel as if you don’t matter. Is it because this movement isn’t centered around you? Well, it’s about fucking time. You already have a whole country built and maintained on the backs of people of color. Is it too much to ask that black people demand not to be killed and injured at the hands of the police? Is it too much to ask that you sit the fuck down and open your clogged ears to listen to the cries and shouts of a people long overdue the equality promised in the documents drafted when this country began? Be an ally to us, support us. We want all lives to matter, because as it stands right now – yours is the only one that does.