Black Lives Matter

There's been a lot of misinformation out there, and a lot of negatively biased information about the uprisings, the protesters themselves, and the reasons for the protests.


First to clarify: "Black Lives Matter" has never meant that other lives don't. It doesn't negate blue, white, brown, or any other kinds of lives mattering. The thing is, BLM is a response to the systematic marginalizing and devaluing black lives. Black Lives Matter doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, and doesn't negate your struggles. It means however hard it is, it isn't harder BECAUSE you are black. It's a cry of pain. If your spouse came to you in tears and said, "Do you love me?" It would be cruel and maybe disingenuous to say, "Of course-- I love everyone."


These protests began as a peaceful declaration from the black community that they are living in untenable conditions. Primarily, that when a young black man leaves the house, he goes with a target on his back for police brutality. That when mothers see their sons go out for an evening with their friends, they have much more reason to believe their sons may not return safely -- because of the very police who are supposed to protect them.


(Here's where some police apologists will say, "What about black on black crime?" and "All police officers aren't bad. This is hogwash because the people saying that had nothing to say about black people being killed in their own neighborhoods by their neighbors -- except when it serves as a distraction from police brutality. Police neglect of crime in black neighborhoods is an important but separate issue. And nobody says that all police officers are bad -- that's another distraction. And it's equally hypocritical because the people set up that straw horse -- that putting the spotlight on police brutality is saying all police are bad are simultaneously lumping in looters and vandals with peaceful protesters, and calling the protests "riots,")


Who are the protesters? They are black men and women, young and old, from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. They are working people and the disenfranchised, They are straight and gay. They are school kids, seniors, white people, brown people, little old ladies, professional activists, and people interested in learning more. They are people united by a single phenomenon: Cell phone video. It's become harder to turn a blind eye or deny police brutality when it's recorded and played back before us.


Does protest work? In the past, not too much, but it seems like a new conversation has begun -- partly because we can see proof of the phenomenon being protested, and partly by the protests lasting longer, and ironically, partly because of the media attention on the looting and vandalism. Many companies are doubling down on diversity and inclusion efforts. There's more support for policing standards and systems of accountability.


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Alexander Mackenzie, MFT . linkedin.com/in/alexxjm

California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFT 29374

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