Let's Continue This Conversation
About the Black Lives Matter movement
I posted this on one of my social media channels on August twenty-nine of this year, and the reception it received was as expected during that time of evident political turmoil in North America. However, the momentum of such a significant movement seems to be lessening substantially.
Let's restart the conversation.
I need to make several points clear, and though some of these will likely result in the loss of "friends", the endeavour is worth the risk. I will attempt to make this as accessible as I can.
First of all, Black Lives Matter, they have to for equality to be an achievable goal. And this must always remain about equality and never move into the same angles of ignorance and bigotry we are attempting to correct.
To say that all white people are racist is as ridiculous as saying that none of them is; I think we all may have biases, that whilst being subconscious, directly affect our daily and seemingly conscious behaviour. And here is a point I want to address: how do I declare you guilty of something you don't know you are doing? The philosophical implications of this are vast, but telling someone that they are racist, without explaining how is a(n) useless gesture. Now, this explanation must be appropriate to the context in which we offer it, or it must be good enough to show how they are perpetuating racism. To accuse someone of any crime, especially such a heinous one without giving proper evidence of it, isn't only insufficient; it is counterproductive. It's the wrong approach.
The same goes for all aspects of human behaviour. Not all cops are bad, not all priest, not all politicians - you get my point. The only blanket statement we can make safely is that we are all human.
Racism is both systemic and individual. Yes, everyone can hold independently to hate for someone else based on nothing more than physical differences. And yes, specific social structures allow for that hate to grow and propagate in certain groups - politics and religion facilitate that propagation exceptionally well. I propose reforming both or abolishing them altogether.
The problem with thinking that racism is only systemic is that it allows for certain individual attitudes to go unchecked. It forgives the person for ignoring - and sometimes willfully - their moral responsibility to other humans around them. The problem with thinking that racism is only an individual issue is in ignoring the flaws of the political and social structures I mentioned before. Notice that I have deliberately used different forms of the verb to ignore to mark another point: bigotry is the direct result of ignorance; ignorance of our own and other people's actual circumstances.
This conversation is too important to be a simple one; its consequences to human suffering and life are too significant to be taken lightly. It is irresponsible for us to assume that we have it all figured out. Stop telling people how they have to act when you aren't willing to adopt similar concepts and conduct.
On a side note...
I often question how my brothers and sisters on this side of the debate can't understand why others react adversely to being labelled racist. Aren't their negative emotions towards that label indication that they find it offensive, and that it's not something they want? It is a nasty accusation. So, next time you call someone that, and they show you how much it hurts them, see it as the way to a better conversation that it is. We should all be concerned with the people who do not object to this label for they are either desensitised to it, or they proudly wear the badge.
As I said before: This is an important conversation and we need to approach it hat way.
One love, one people.