The Black Lives Matter Movement
It has been my experience that the Black Lives Matter movement has started a discussion to take place between people of color and whites, and between whites and whites, about white privilege, racism, prison reform, climate change, minimum wage, the welfare state, law enforcement, and the fact that every human being should have dignity, freedom, equality before the law, a livable wage, clean air and water, a safe and clean place to live, a good education, and everything else that whites have always taken for granted, while wholly or partially denying them to people of color, since the founding of the United States of America.
A Broken Justice System
People of color have always been “second class”, shamed for their “deficiencies”, blamed for allowing or even “instigating” discrimination, persecution, torture, imprisonment and death, all carried out by white figures of authority, who, in the face of confrontation or criticism, were protected by a justice system that targets people of color with severe and unreasonable punishment, while whites are the social center of attention, being showered with support, legal defense, biased police officers, attorneys and judges, and politicians, all of whom should be aware of the injustice of a system that is centered on racist treatment of people of color, and favorable treatment of whites. For the most part, the punishment for convicted felonies corresponds directly to whether the criminal is a person of color, in which case their sentence by judges and their treatment by law enforcement and prison guards would be severe; or, if the criminal is white, the sentence is much lighter, and the treatment of the criminal is much more humane.
Issues, Issues and More Issues
That’s to say nothing of the plethora of examples pointed out by the BLM movement of inhumane treatment, harassment, torture and murder of completely innocent people of color, just living their lives without bothering anyone, simply because of the color of their skin. Not only is it ridiculous, insane and irrational, it is completely wrong. It is wrong, for people of color, because they are the victims of a society that creates an atmosphere of anger, resentment, bitterness, inhumane and demoralizing treatment, violence, torture, rape, harassment and murder towards people of color. But it is also bad for whites, who, when people of color challenge the system of white privilege and white power and white superiority, constantly defend the inappropriate actions of the white authority figure, and blame the victim because of their race, even if the victim is innocent and the treatment is inhumane. Then they become angry, resentful, bitter, violent and insensitive to the injustice and unfair, unequal treatment of other people of color. It is really a vicious cycle that spirals downward, and finally bursts out into expressions of racist remarks, jokes and harassment, at the least, and abuse, neglect, abandonment, rape and other forms of violence towards people of color, gays, immigrants, women and, last but not least, other whites.
Whites Need to Listen
So, what can we do to change it? I believe the dialogue started by the BLM movement can be continued and really gain meaning in our personal lives by using this news as an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a person of color about what it’s like to be them, and to earnestly and sincerely listen, without interruption, or feeling the need to defend oneself, or ones race. This is a wonderful opportunity for healing, of the expression of compassion for that person, and empathy for their feelings about how all this stuff affects them in their daily lives. In this way, we can learn to see each other as real people with dignity and respect, encouraging each other, fighting for each other’s rights, and maybe surrendering some of those destructive tendencies we are so used to taking advantage of, white privilege, white power, and white superiority. Let it go. It’s worth the risk. 😊