I, as I have mentioned before, have Asperger’s syndrome. That means I don’t understand a lot of human reactions or interactions or responses to facts. I am confused when people get mad or offended by facts. Opinions? Sure, those can go any which way, but facts are … factual.
That’s why I am having trouble grasping the backlash against #BlackLivesMatter. If this backlash was coming out of the KKK, I could understand it, but a lot of good people who try really REALLY hard not to be racist and don’t consider themselves racist are upset about it. Why?
There seems to be for main ways this pushback occurs. 1) The argument that all lives matter. 2) The argument that BlackLivesMatter instigates violence against cops. 3) The colorblind approach that argues #BlackLivesMatter is divisive. 4) Anti-abortion arguments. I want to address these.
1) When Jesus said “blessed are the poor”, no one claims he was saying anyone who wasn’t poor was therefore cursed. When people have signs saying “Save the Rain Forest”, it’s not like they’re saying no other forests matter. When give money to St. Jude’s to fight childhood cancer, no one accuses me of not caring about adults with cancer. When people say that BlackLivesMatter, they are not saying white lives don’t matter; they are saying black lives are worth as much as white lives and the deaths of black people should be a cause for outrage and concern the same way it would be if it happened to a white person. They are saying #BlackLivesMatter because it seems as though black lives don’t matter – or matter less — in our current culture.
2) The movement #BlackLivesMatter does NOT advocate for the murder of cops. I don’t get how being upset that a cop shoots un unarmed black child or black man to death and wanting that cop held accountable for his actions is somehow expressing a hatred or lack of support for law enforcement officials, or suggesting that it is somehow “okay” when cop is murdered. To me, wanting a cop that shot someone to death to be held accountable is a simple matter of wanting to see a murderer be punished. Cops are human, like the rest of us, and since 1% of the population are psychopaths and another 1-5% are child molesters, some of the monsters are going to make it into law enforcement, just like the monsters become doctors, lawyers, priests and airline pilots. That means there are, statistically, bad cops. Do they make up the majority of law enforcement officers? Of course not. But protecting cops who murder people from prosecution is as stupid as protecting pedophile priests; all it does is erode faith in the 95-99% of cops or priests who are the ‘good guys’.
Law enforcement is a dangerous profession. However, black suspects are NOT more dangerous than white suspects: “In 2013, 44 percent of cop killers were white, 37 percent were black and 11 percent were Hispanic. Last year, 54 percent were white, 26 percent were black and 18 percent were Hispanic. In those years there was also one Native American, one Inuit man and one Chechen”. In spite of the fact that a white guy is more likely to kill a police officer, black suspects are shot (and killed) more often by cops because black men are ‘seen’ as a danger. What activists want is for cops to be taught not to see black men as axiomatically dangerous. What activists want is for cops who kill black people to be held accountable for their actions, instead of being given a show trial while their victim is decried as ‘thug’ whose death was deserved.
Moreover, in terms of deliberate targeting of cops, is the white, right-wing extremists that are the biggest threat. “The number of officers killed by right-wing extremists more than doubled in the 1990s, then increased by 50% more in the first decade of the 2000s … Of these 43 incidents [tracked from 2009-2013], fully 39 of them involved extremists sporting some sort of extreme right-wing ideology. White supremacists took part in 21 incidents, while anti-government extremists were involved in 17 more. An anti-Muslim extremist was involved in one incident (the other four incidents included one with a left-wing extremist and three with domestic Islamic extremists). In these shooting incidents, the extremists shot 30 officers, 14 fatally. Many other officers sustained non-gunfire injuries during some of these encounters.”
3) People will, with the best of intentions, bring up the issue of being “colorblind” and how #BlackLivesMatter is “divisive” and “promotes racism”. Sadly, being ‘colorblind’ hurts more than it helps. Colorblindness is a passive and inadvertent form of racism. “Racial issues are often uncomfortable to discuss and rife with stress and controversy … Currently, the most pervasive approach is known as colorblindness. Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity … Research has shown that hearing colorblind messages predict negative outcomes among Whites, such as greater racial bias and negative affect; likewise colorblind messages cause stress in ethnic minorities, resulting in decreased cognitive performance (Holoien et al., 2011). Given how much is at stake, we can no longer afford to be blind. It’s time for change and growth. It’s time to see. The alternative to colorblindness is multiculturalism, an ideology that acknowledges, highlights, and celebrates ethnoracial differences. It recognizes that each tradition has something valuable to offer. It is not afraid to see how others have suffered as a result of racial conflict or differences.”
4) The connection between #BlackLivesMatter and abortion is the one I have the hardest time understanding. The argument appears to be that because abortion is legal, saying black lives matter is hypocritical. Okay, the antiabortion stance is that life begins at conception (or before, when the egg is fertilized). Let’s ignore the fact that biology doesn’t consider a fertilized egg to be equivalent to a human being, that 30-50% of fertilized eggs don’t implant and miscarriages happen to another 10-20% of the remaining implanted embryos, and there is no Biblical injunction against abortion or claim that a fetus is equivalent to a human, and say that we agree 100% that fertilized eggs exactly the same thing as an newborn baby … how does abortion render human life less important once it is outside the womb? Should antiabortion activist be supporting #BlackLivesMatters, since all human life is considered sacred? The Catholic Church is as strongly against the death penalty as abortion, and one would think that an unjust death penalty for the crime of being black and ‘scary’ would be deeply problematic. Furthermore, the mortality rate for black fetuses and neonates and babies (12.2 out of every 1000 live births; worse than in Montenegro or Qatar or Guam) is astronomical due to poverty and lack of access to health care, but I haven’t seen any pro-life rallies demanding nationalized health care for pregnant women and more tax spending on SNAP and the end of extreme economic disparity.
Seriously, how hard is it to understand #BlackLivesMatter is only about acknowledging that black lives matter?