Former CNN host Piers Morgan has anointed himself the defender of "whiteness" in his side occupation as a professional Twitter troll. He gets special satisfaction in smugly weighing in on "Black Twitter," a social network focused on issues of interest to the black community, showing blatant disregard and virtually no understanding of the struggle for racial equality in America or the black experience itself. Adopting almost a mocking tone, he responded to a CNN commentator who tweeted "all black lives matter" with "all lives matter."
According to Heather Saul writing in the Independent:
"The former Mirror editor faced a backlash after responding to a tweet from Marc Lamont Hill by claiming millions of white lives are also "devalued" and treated "appallingly" across the world.
Morgan said he preferred not to "categorise the value of life according to skin colour" and suggested the statement 'black lives matter' could only serve to cause more division."
What this strange conservative umbrage at the phrase "black lives matter?" Why do they recoil when they hear it? It exists against a backdrop where black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when "killed during encounters with police than white people," despite being just 13% of the population.
Morgan may be correct that whites lives are also "devalued" and treated "appalling" across the world, but usually by other whites and not through institutional racism that systemically oppresses them. White lives, just as those of people of color, are "devalued" by the fact that being born poor defines one's life chances. In fact, 70% of those born poor stay that way. But then one would have to attack capitalism itself, which as an privileged member of the elite and with a net worth upwards of $20 million, Morgan is loathe to do.
So to introduce the phrase "all lives matter" to the discussion dilutes any significance of the precariousness that blacks have vis-a-vis their encounters with police, with the criminal justice system itself, and with the historical racism and the de jure segregation that once existed in the South in this country. This history is simply and conveniently swept under the rug by Morgan.
More recently, Morgan jumped in the fray again to speak for the forces of intolerance or, at minimum, blanket obliviousness. Responding to a tweet by activist DeRay Mckesson's signature "I love my blackness. And yours," Morgan tweeted that "he loved his whiteness and your blackness." Is Morgan trying to equate some mythical white struggle with the contemporary black struggle that was born in the institution of slavery and nurtured in Jim Crow America?
Morgan comes off sounding like a white supremacist with the utterance that he "loves his whiteness" simply because, besides the strange need to insert himself into the conversation, the statement is just so forced, unnecessary and ahistorical.
As Kirsten West Savali wrote in "The Root:"
"The issue is that loving one's blackness is not solely about loving one's skin color. It is pushback against the pathologizing of black people, black communities and black culture."
"Celebrating whiteness in the United States? It means you are celebrating privilege. You are celebrating the history of white oppression, imperialism, racism and supremacy. It's not celebrating the lack of melanin; it's a celebration of lack of accountability."
So true! Morgan should take heed. Equating some imaginary white struggle with the contemporary black experience in America just shows a superficiality, a banality that while, perhaps not racist in itself, is certainly unserious and unworthy of someone who considers himself an opinion maker.