Do All Black Lives Matter?

This is a Black Lives Matter Banner in Charlotte, NC, November 2015. Camera - Canon 7D Mark II, Lens - Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS
This is a Black Lives Matter Banner in Charlotte, NC, November 2015. Camera - Canon 7D Mark II, Lens - Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

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We’ve seen this way too many times, haven’t we?

An black man is shot and killed by the police.

The facts come out.

Sometimes the shooting is justified. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s too hard to tell.

But the result is basically the same, isn’t it?

We mourn the victims. We express our rage. We hear people shout out “black lives matter.” We hear other people say “all lives matter.”

Accusing fingers point back and forth. Endless platitudes, invectives, and political sound bites are flung wildly in every direction.

We see the protests. In some cases, we see even more violence. In these cities, we see anger, frustration, and rage boiling until it erupts and spills onto the streets.

It’s all over the major news outlets until finally, things calm down and we go back to our everyday lives. Until it happens again.

And so it goes.

Meanwhile, there’s still more black men and women getting murdered. Every single day another one is shot to death in cold blood.

 

So, What’s the Real Threat?

Here’s the question.

What about the black people that are being murdered every day by other black people?

Yes, I know. We’ve all heard this question a million times, haven't we?

We usually hear it when we see yet another unarmed shooting of a black man by the police. Unfortunately, this question has become nothing more than a distraction designed to distract us from the most recent unarmed police shooting of a black man.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not an important question. This question shouldn’t only be asked in the wake of an unjust police shooting.

Consider these facts:

  • 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people.
  • As of September 20th, 78% of the homicide victims in Chicago were black.
  • There were about 6,000 black people killed by other black people in 2012.
  • In 2011, Blacks were 13% of the population, but accounted for 50% of homicide victims.
  • For every 1 black person that is killed by a police officer, 40 are killed by other black people.
  • Black Americans are almost 8 times more likely to be murdered than white americans.

When I see these numbers, I have to ask, what is the real threat to the black community? Is it really the police?

I’m not so sure that it is.

 

Is Racism Killing Us?

Yes, racism does exist in the United State of America. It’s a fact. You’d have to be incredibly naive, immensely stupid, or intellectually dishonest to deny it.

Yes, I believe we have made significant progress when it comes to racism, but the hard truth is this: we will never eliminate racism. It’s impossible. As long as there are ignorant people, there will be racism.

America isn’t the only nation that deals with racism. As a matter of fact, contrary to what some want us to believe, other countries have more of a problem with racism than we do.

So, here’s my point: even though racism is still a thing, it’s not what’s killing black men and women every day. When you look at the statistics above, you can easily see that most of us aren’t dying at the hands of police officers.

We are killing ourselves.

 

Where’s the Outrage?

#BlackLivesMatter organizes protests whenever an unarmed black person is killed by the cops. They get black people out en masse to demonstrate against the injustice.

There’s tons of anger at police officers when there are unarmed shootings of black men. And there should be. These incidents are disgusting, and the police officers involved should face the consequences.

While I don’t agree with a lot of what #BlackLivesMatter does, I do understand where they’re coming from. But I don’t believe they go far enough. They’re not addressing the real issue.

Where’s the outrage for the black men and women who are being killed every day by their own people? Where are the protests? Where is the righteous anger for those of us who are killed for no good reason?

There’s no real reaction when we see a black-on-black murder. There’s no visceral anger like you see in Charlotte and other cities. It’s like we’ve become so used to it that we don’t even care anymore.

Whenever a cop shoots an unarmed black man, I hear about it on the news. I talk about it with people at work. But if a black man is shot by another black man, we usually don’t hear about it. And when we do, it’s never spoken of after we hear about it.

Don’t these lives matter too? Are their lives any less relevant because they weren’t killed by police officers?

We see tons of articles and news stories that examine the “systemic racism” in police departments. We hear all about how horrible cops are.

But we don’t see much written about why so many of us are killing each other. The victims of black-on-black crime go largely unnoticed, and to me, that is every bit as tragic as the fate of unarmed black men who are killed by police.

Conclusion

I know there are organizations out there that are working to reduce violence in the inner city. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who are trying to do anything about it.

But what do you think would happen if we fought as hard against black-on-black crime as we do against unjust police shootings? What would happen if we as black people got so fed up at seeing our own people killing each other that we had to act?

What if we decided that All Black Lives Matter?

I think that if we’re really going to make a difference in our own community, we can’t wait for someone else to fix it. We need to speak out against the violence in our own neighborhoods. We have to do what we can to put an end to it. If we don’t act, nobody else will.

#allblacklivesmatter