From my position of privilege (and we’ve gone into that a couple of times already, so I’ll spare the repeat), I’ve talked about how the world thinks and treats the Black Lives Matter protests and protesters. How society marginalises and tries to dismiss them as being wingeing busybodies that are a general inconvenience to the rest. And for those who benefit from the status quo, the perception isn’t far off, because it -is- a massive inconvenience to those who have status to have people speak out against that status.
What greater example do we have than when malls were shut down leading up to the holiday shopping period? Yeah, that’s a thing that happened. Did people rage and denounce how a man died after being shot by police? Nope.
Not at all. They complained about how it was inconvenient for them because it got in the way of their shopping. Read that again: We perceive the lives of Black people as being LESS IMPORTANT than fragrant consumerism and ballooning corporate greed. That’s F***ing sick. I’m not going to mince words on this one, it is ghastly and appalling how we put spending money above the lives and wellbeing of other humans.
It isn’t an unusual occurrence, either. The fact that I keep getting reminded of it to prompt me to write about it, so long after the initial situation took place, is just another example of that. I’m saying it not just because it needs to be said, but because to not say it makes me an accomplice. To end racism in this world, we need to be more than just non-racist: we need to be anti-racist.
Marlon James said it so well in his video (I’ve imbedded it here for your viewing pleasure, though I’m not 100% sure it is accessible globally), but to be honest, I think he still understated the problem.
Things hold more value to us than the lives of Black people. That’s what we’re told and taught from a very early age by action and deed if not by spoken word. That we get more irritated when a band can’t perform due to protesters protesting than the reason they are protesting in the first place… As though the notion of fixing the problem is so beyond basic comprehension that it doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar. It never occurs to us that, if we actively pushed back against racism, if we actually were anti-racist, there wouldn’t be a need for such protests in the first place.
But no, we don’t think that – we being the privileged part of society – we only think about how horrible it is that we can’t buy Timmy that iPad for Christmas or Susie her new Laptop. Oh what good little sheep we are, demanding that we maintain the status quo so that we don’t have to think about deviating from our baaing and bleating. No, I’m not being too harsh, we’re too desensitised to the notion that other human beings are just as worthy of the same level of peace and tranquility that we have on a day-to-day basis that we fail to not only speak up when they are abused, harassed and murdered, but we demonise them when they dare to stand up and push back against the system that was designed to keep them subservient.
Not one person could or would willingly choose to live the life that Black people live. Not for a day, not for a week, not for a month. Sure as heck not for a full lifetime. Yet, that exactly what we expect of Black people. That’s so divorced from the word okay, it has received a court order not to come within 1,000 miles of it.
It will never be out of touch to talk about BlackLivesMatter, it will never not be significant so long as things remain the same. Let this be the reminder to everyone reading, and it is my hope that you will all take up the torch and do the same: I will not sit down, I will not shut up. So long as there is injustice, I will speak up and help raise the voices of BlackLivesMatter. Because they do matter and we have no right to ignore them.