I am a very intelligent man. I know exactly what each of these means and their intent. I don’t need for anyone to explain them to me.
“Black Lives Matter” is meant to accentuate what happens between law enforcement (mainly white) and black people to state that the lives of blacks are important in terms of lives being lost at the hands of the police, whatever the circumstances. The feeling is that law enforcement is specifically targeting black people, hence the title.
“Blue Lives Matter” is meant to give support to law enforcement because of the fact that those lives are lost as well, many times, by black people.
“All Lives Matter” is meant to express that no one group of lives is more important than another.
With all that being said, here is why I feel that NONE of that helps.
First off, “All Lives Matter” is a nice sentiment. In a perfect world, they all do. I can’t tell you how much and how badly I wish that we all could say that, or that it was a reality.
But what I feel now is that it is dismissive to hear people say this. Not because it isn’t or shouldn’t be true, but because many times, there doesn’t even appear to be an attempt to understand where others are coming from.
I believe this is why many people fight. Too many out there believe that to understand someone means to agree with them. So too often, they don’t even make an attempt just because they don’t want to convey that they are accepting what is coming from someone else.
I’ve written in here that I don’t agree with “Black Lives Matter.” I’m not going back on any of that. But even in disagreeing, just as in that post I wrote last year, I get why this exists. Again, I don’t have to agree to understand it. Understanding just means that you comprehend it. It doesn’t equate to acceptance.
These hashtags promote segregation. That’s all there is to it.
There isn’t even an attempt by folks in each of these groups to understand the others. It’s all about their cause and their cause only. That is the problem and the main reason I feel these never help. The only way they will is when someone in any of these groups takes a second to try and relate to either of the others, again, without necessarily having to agree with them.
But it has become such a war among these groups that that looks nearly impossible.
What saddens me the most is not that people aren’t just straight up agreeing with everyone else in each of these groups, because I would be foolish to ever expect that to happen. It’s the fact that, again, the attempt to understand isn’t even there. For me, the fact that the words “LIVES MATTER” exist at the end of these should be a HUGE reason and a great first step to understand (without necessarily agreeing; in case I haven’t said that enough) the other groups.
If you’re a sports fan, think about this. Just because you and someone else are fans of different teams, you at least understand why, because of the fact that sports link you two together, correct? Even though you aren’t fans of the same team, you still have a great time (usually) because of that connection. You’re both enjoying sports.
I think that’s a pretty simple concept. However, again, so many are concerned with only themselves.
In many ways, I believe some people just love to fight. I’ve seen too much evidence that tells me otherwise. So the lack of an attempt to understand could be ignorance, or it could be a disinterest in doing so. People feel “stronger” when fighting. Some feel that’s about the only real “power” they have is in debating with others. While I could sit here, play Dr. Phil and tell them that isn’t the case, many won’t listen. Fighting is all they know how to do.
Often, even when people agree with them, they find some way to still spin it so that it’s not a 100% agreement. A person once said to me, once I finally agreed with something they said, “Well…you should have agreed before. This conversation should have never happened.”
Wait…so even though I agreed, I’m still wrong because I didn’t agree with you “soon enough”? Isn’t that the whole point of discussing it? To express your points so that others understand? Nah…I was supposed to just agree with them in the beginning.
Honestly, that’s what I feel a lot of people in each of these groups is doing. If you don’t agree 100% with them, then you’re wrong. Again, it’s as simple as that.
Now to bring social media into the equation. 99% of the problem is because most of this is done through Facebook, Twitter and I assume Instagram (as I don’t have an account with them). I’m guessing I didn’t need to explain that part of it, but this really is where just about all of this takes place. I very seldom hear people speak about this publicly. Not to say that it doesn’t happen, but in comparison, not even close.
People have completely different mindsets when on social media. For one, because that computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone screen represents any number of miles of separation between you and the person you are speaking with. This allows people to do and say a lot of what they would never say to someone’s face. Of course, damn near everyone claims they would, but they’re not fooling anyone.
With that comes a lot more anger and debating than would normally happen, in my opinion. Then when all that is taking place, in return, there is a much larger reluctance to want to TRULY hear the other side of just about any debate. Especially since more often than not, things get WAY out of hand. Along with the fact that words are often lost in translation sometimes when you see them writing as opposed to when they’re spoken, it’s a recipe for a hot mess.
I want all lives to matter. I really do. In my eyes and heart, they do. I don’t look at it as a black person being killed. I look at it as a PERSON being killed. Same for a police officer. A PERSON DIED. I’m not so numb to a person losing his or her life that I have to classify it in one way or another or to group it into categories to feel better about it. Situations and circumstances many times dictate this. As unfortunate as they may be, once a person dies, there’s no coming back from that. That is always at the forefront of my mind.
Yes, I understand that racism exists. I’m not stupid. None of what I’m saying implies that it doesn’t. I’m not sure how people keep reaching that conclusion.
But to say this, many people would feel I was delusional, or attempting to pretend that there isn’t an issue with the black community, racism, law enforcement, police brutality and so on. I get why. When things are out of control the way they are, of course I and anyone else who shares my sentiments would be viewed as “naive” in some kind of way because we wish things weren’t the way they were, or that we just don’t see it as being that way. You can call me naive all you want. I can accept that. But I won’t accept being called wrong.
Because the bottom line is, I’m not. I’m never going to accept being wrong to be someone who thinks enough about society and the human race that I WANT us to eventually reach a point where we do truly feel and believe that ALL LIVES MATTER.
However, my point of all this is that I understand that they all don’t matter. Not to everyone. And it isn’t because people don’t care. I truly believe in my heart that to some degree, everyone does.
It’s just that a lot of people out there want people to care about the side they’re on, or to at least acknowledge it. To me, that’s fair. “At least HEAR what I’m saying.” I can respect that. Yes, many want you to simply agree, but this is a start.
The problem comes in when those same people have absolutely NO desire to give that same respect to members of those other sides. Once this is realized (which often doesn’t take very long), then everything is off the table. Folks rush to social media, throw the hashtags around in desperate hopes that the other sides just succumb to them, or that their side gets more “likes,” “shares,” “retweets” and whatever else. Then the focus becomes more about how LOUD and overpowering one side can be, more so than to express points with a profound wish for others to understand.
I will never reach a point where I say that all lives do not matter. Because they do. However, I sincerely wish that one day, we will all reach a point where, not by delusion, dismissal or force, we can all feel that way. Again, I think that to an extent, we all do already.
But it will take more than shoving a hashtag down someone’s throat to get there.