Let’s acknowledge my privilege status before we begin: I’m a heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied, non-Black minority American. This means that, quite literally, 90% of the problems disadvantaged individuals face are things that I will never experience first-hand myself. Yes, that includes the BS that the UK cooks up.
I am a person of exceptional privilege, so much so that I am required to address my peers regarding this red-herring of a counter-narretive called #PoliceLivesMatter/#AllLivesMatter.
Why is it a red-herring? Simply put, it exists NOT to push for improvements in safety/well-being of Police Officers, nor is it to better the lives of all people. It exists (caps for emphasis, read it loud) SOLELY TO MAKE PEOPLE SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ABOUT #BLACKLIVESMATTER.
That is it. On the flip side of things, #BlackLivesMatter is demanding that Police be held accountable for the systematic harassment, abuse and wholesale slaughter (no, it isn’t an exaggeration) of Black people.
Lets make it very clear right now: The Police already HAVE every form of protection society has to offer. They have the weapons and defensive gear (some of it even purchased from the Military; THE Military – in what way could we do better than that?), they have the professional training for a job that is known to be dangerous, they also – even when they do something wrong – have a justice system that protects them from being held accountable when they violate the rights of the people they are supposed to protect.
So, again, I say: just in what way can we make their lives any safer without rendering them completely and utterly useless to society on a whole?
Frankly speaking, the demand that Officers actually face the full brunt of their actions, that they actually NOT be above the law, isn’t unreasonable. In fact, it is downright civilised. NO ONE should be above the law, no one should get away with murder (figurative and actual).
Oh but what about token-extremist protesters? What about them? OH, do you mean that we should be looking towards them as a full representation of the whole? Well, then, by that same standard all White people should be represented by the leader of the KKK; all Christians should be assumed to be EXACTLY like the Westboro Baptists…
Don’t agree? Funny how we do that to minority groups all the time. We wrongly assume that Daesh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant) represent all of Islam; we wrongly assume that Israel speaks for all Jewish people; we wrongly assume and expect one Black person to be the spokesperson for all of the Black community.
Yet, we are very quick to argue against such sweeping generalisations when the shoe is on the other (See: privileged) foot. Instead, we dismiss our extremists as “isolated incidents,” “lone vigilantes,” “a few bad apples” and ever-popular ableist “psychos,” among others.
And don’t get it twisted: Officers know that their jobs are dangerous. They willingly entered into a service daily where they very well might not finish their shift outside of a body-bag. That same token cannot be said for all Black people who, even when completely innocent of crime, are automatically made into suspects and KNOW that any interaction with authority runs the real risk of them becoming another statistic that the rest of the world seems to not give two turds about.
Worse, they also know that such a death is highly unlikely to receive justice. Ever. They know that, no matter how good or kind or nice they are, the media will character assassinate them until the public justifies their murder by saying that they somehow deserve it (i.e. they are victim-blamed).
So to those that try this tactic, knowingly or not, I have this to say:
No, I will not sit down,
No, I will NOT shut up,
YES YOU WILL keep hearing about how Black Lives Matter, and you will CONTINUE to hear it until there is justice.