Black Lives Matter
I’m not sure where it started, but the #blacklivesmatter has grown into a force in its own right. And it’s a very important issue to be sure.
I confess my first response when I read that hashtag was to think to myself but surely All Lives Matter. Yes that was my first response, it was simplistic and thankfully I have thought more about this to realise why it is so important that this campaign continues to gain momentum and strength.
I live in Australia, a country that is now very multicultural. A walk down suburban streets will testify to this with the vast array of food from a vast array of cultures. But it has not always been so. I grew up in a very white dominated culture, where to that white dominance was so strong that to question it was an almost alien idea.
It was in fact so strong that it was invisible to anyone within it.
Australia has its own, disgusting shameful history, of violence, discrimination, and genocide of indigenous and immigrant culture. We even had an official racist policy that was known as The White Australia policy.
We have made many gains forward in the years I have been alive, but, we have many more forward gains to make. The racism of this land is still present and bubbling under the surface. We see it bubble up in places at times, sometimes in political realms and sometimes in acts of violence.
In a shameful display of racism masked as patriotism we had a Prime Minister of our country allow refugees to languish on a boat as he used their plight for political gain leading into an election as he declared “We will decide who comes to our country and we will decide the manner in which they come”. In a devastating display of violent racism in 2005 we say The Cronulla Riots. And in the last couple of weeks voters have elected to our parliament a racist woman declaring war on Muslim people.
So yes all lives do matter. All lives are important, valuable and to be treated with dignity, humanity and respect. Sometimes though we need to make a point of declaring that importance to particular sections of humanity. At this time it is important to focus our attention and energy on declaring that yes Black Lives Matter.
White Privilege is real…
Many scoff at the idea of white privilege, as if it is just a political correct statement. But it is real. I as a white person am a beneficiary of it:
I will never experience an instance of wondering if I didn’t get the job because I am white
I may experience situations where as the only white person in a group I am afforded leadership simply due to being white.
These are just two simple examples of how white privilege is real. There are many more, and many will be specific to the different cultural situation they exist in.
Why highlight #BlackLivesMatter now?
It amazes me how quickly my social media feeds became cluttered with people declaring #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter after the situation in Texas over the last few days.
Scratching the surface of these showed the white dominance and control very clearly. Quickly espoused were justifications of black deaths. Excuses or reasonings as to why these were deserved.
I ask where was the outcry at the 100’s of black deaths over months and years?
It was missing in action.
Yet, 5 white deaths and sudden outrage.
In a world where 100’s of black human people can be killed by violence and hardly a whimper is heard, but 5 white deaths create a frenzy of outrage, white privilege is clearly at issue.
Yes, we do need to highlight that black lives matter, because western society as a whole seems to be acting as if they don’t matter.
Yes, we need to highlight that black lives matter, because the disparity of life between white and black is so massive it needs to be addressed.
Do black lives matter more than white lives? Of course not.
But here’s the thing.
We already act like white lives matter!
We need to highlight that black lives matter, because society as a whole, are acting as if they don’t!