Black Lives Matter to Black people

I want to share this thing that bothered me this morning. I was driving in to work and I heard on the radio that the rapper known Takeoff was accidentally shot and killed following an altercation over a dice game at a bowling alley. The DJs were very emotional about it and one of them said “ We say Black Lives Matter, but they can’t matter until they matter to Black people.” That’s the part that bothered me because it feels like a non -nuance and simple observation of that incident specifically and Black affairs generally.
I have a few simple thoughts on this that I want to express. First is that Black lives absolutely matter to Black people. The sad fact is that for as long as human beings have populated the earth, human beings have been killing each other. A variable in crime is demographic proximity. It should be well understood BY NOW, that you are more likely to be killed by someone that looks like you than not. That holds for every population across the globe and is not something that is unique and inherent to Black people. It is a problem with HUMAN BEINGS, not just Black people. Of course crime is also correlated to socio -economic status and poverty, and that does affect Black people more due to America’s long standing problem with White hegemony. But to say Black lives got to matter to Black people strikes me as disrespectful, untrue, and foolish.
Secondly, the Black Lives Matter movement was about holding the police accountable for the disproportionate killings of Black people. It was not some movement to promote the lives of Black people over others. It simply and fully means that all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter. We ostensibly have a criminal Justice system that punishes law breakers. However, due to the things like qualified immunity, the blue wall of silence and outright racism, police are rarely held accountable for murdering Black people. BLM was not about addressing crime among civilians. We already have the solution to that, its called going to jail or capital punishment. BLM was about holding people with the authority and power of the state accountable.
Finally, there are a number of Black and White people working to bring about a more just society. The thing that get in the news is the bad shit like this killing. No one is doing a breaking news story on the Black man volunteering his time helping troubled kids, or this White lady, that I met at a baby shower, who has spent years working to bring research opportunities to HBCUs. People are sacrificing and serving everyday for the benefit of others, but you don’t hear about those people because they work in silence. I really want people to stop disrespecting who we are as Black people, especially other Black people. No amount of “acting right” is going to eliminate the stratified society we live in so don’t peddle in respectability politics, destructive narratives and lies.


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