The reason black lives matter isn’t because white lives don’t. It’s because all lives matter once black lives do. This is a concept I only really began to grasp recently. As a freelance journalist, I’ve tried to cover to the best of my ability the outrage over the killings of black men throughout the United States, but I think I’ve mostly failed. Maybe this is because I’m white, but probably not. Rather, I feel like it is more or unless the unwillingness of the general public to fully appreciate the idea that a certain section of the American population is being persecuted in a way that is so blatant and so terrible, that it is unnoticed.
There are two concepts to understand: there is racism and then there is police brutality. These two things intersect more often when it comes to blacks than any other demographic. I’ve been brutalized by the police before, but I never ever thought it was because I was inferior to the police due to my appearance or my culture. I was arrested in a white neighborhood, near white people, by white police, for trying to defend the rights of those who were protesting against puppy mills. I grew up around white people, I’ve been robbed by white people, and I’ve been hurt and hurt other white people in my past.
But when you watch the local news, all you see are ‘black on black crimes’. They are usually in areas that are poor and are mostly demographically black. More crime does happen in these areas. Socio-economic factors certainly play a roll in this. But the larger point is that white people simply cannot understand the feelings of blacks. They don’t realize that the same things that happen to blacks could easily happen to them under slightly different circumstances. They don’t consider the larger picture.
It is for this reason that I’ve decided to follow the ‘black lives matter’ protests and try to understand the activists, their feelings, and the issue at hand. I also want to attempt to grasp the reasons for why institutionalized racism is such a difficult thing to change, and what can be done to ultimately erase it.
This will be the first entry in a line of future ones about the black lives matter movement. It will be accompanied by video and photos. I would appreciate any feedback.