Recently in light of police violence in the United States (where I live) ending in the deaths of black people the revolt against police has understandably reached a rapid boil. As is the case in almost everything in our day and age the internet has taken hold of this to bring together not just black people but people of all races against this problem. As is the problem with anything race related there is going to be racial tension especially since to my knowledge all the police officers involved in these altercations are white.
Now full disclosure here if you don’t know me or haven’t seen me… I’m a 45 year old black male computer consultant. My family consists of 4 kids from 26 to 14 mostly into tech as well. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter has flooded the internet polarizing the issue but my question to you is “Do black lives matter?” This may sound silly coming from a black person but it’s definitely not exactly like it sounds. What I’m really saying is does the hashtag really put together all that is going on and the core of this issue.
Why wouldn’t it matter? The problem I have with all things internet is that people can sit behind a screen and talk about all kinds of stuff from their desk or couch but never actually do anything at all. People have made an effort to change that by adding so many ways you can get involved, give money and sign petitions online and I love that usage of the internet. However if you’re not doing any of those but just putting your voice out there do black lives really matter to you? I can hear the voices out there reading this saying, “Yes Mr. Condescending. Voicing a problem brings awareness of it and that’s a start.” This statement is very true and before I go on I would love to acknowledge it. This is what a collabrative distributed system like the internet is GREAT for. However, just like every other meme and hashtag soon it will become internet lint. It now lines the pocket of a server somewhere letting you know there was once something important there at one time but after time and regular cleaning now it is just trash to be throw out to the four winds.
Why does it matter? Even though it may be one of the biggest and most widely seen hashtags on the internet the fact of the matter is black people are an underrepresented populous that get racially profiled all the time and people suffer. This can’t continue to happen whatever your racial background. Arabic cultures in America are feeling the same pressure and it’s not right. Whenever any minority encounters this there look for something that gives them a sense of strength against a mighty foe. Think early colonist militias fighting the mighty British armies shooting from trees or David and Goliath’s battle of two best soldiers to decide a battle that would surely have gone the other way had all the forced collided.
What are you going to do about? Now is the best part to me. The reason I don’t like meetings, town hall events or hearing the rhetoric of so many black groups that just shout about knowing your past is the lack of clear actions to solve a problem leading to getting up from the table and getting stuff done. Let me take a hard view in my stance from our own community. Black lives DON’T matter to you if you raise your children with no respect for authority. This first thing may seem like it’s take a victim blaming mentality but instead it’s taking a proactive accountability on us. This doesn’t apply to all the police incidents for sure because there is evil in the world however if our children (and this part is all races) don’t respect teachers any more because parents back the student first, don’t go to a church where they respect clergy and can tell the crazy old lady off they will surely exude that disrespect in their movements towards police and right or wrong bad things happen from there. There is a thing know as Right but dead right. If you’re not focusing on the children that you’re raising or in your sphere of influence then keep barking at the establishment as much as you want but black lives don’t matter to you as much as you think. It started with my generation. Over privileged kids that didn’t have grandparents and parents like mine that instilled respect in them for adults and the trials and work ethic of their generation.
Just like with religious, health or political interests don’t be or follow the person making the most noise thinking that’s the way to God, health or environmental peace. The simple way? LIVE IT. I don’t talk about breathing I just breathe. I don’t yell about God I just live in as much a Godly way as I can daily. This is what spreads. I teach my kids about being examples of being your true authentic selves (read into that not kissing up in any way) but changing the way the world sees you, your race, your gender and your family. Any teacher will tell you that the bane of their existence is the child saying, “but I didn’t do anything” when they’re getting in trouble. Why is it always you?
I’m also doing work with countries like Ghana and Haiti’s youth right now (as well as programs empowering youth here in the U.S.). Some children in these countries have even seen videos of my daughter Keila being young and talking to thousands in and audience about being empowered to do what she wants in this world. Those countries and many others that have black people still live feeling powerless with few white police. Oh and as a quick history lesson, Haiti is the country that the slaves being shipped to North America overthrew their slave ship owners and created their own country. With or without white oppression and racial profiling doesn’t equal strength and power.
As Ghandi said and has resonated in my life since I was a kid, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If I want to see violence then I would be violent. If I wanted to see yelling and inactivity then I would do that as well. If you want to see Black lives matter live and breathe a life that matters.