Bill O’Reilly is an incredible human being and is really, really good at what he does. I was aimlessly scrolling down Facebook a few days ago and skimmed an article detailing O’Reilly’s attempts to get a couple of criminologists to say, or to at least imply, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is the cause of the recent police murders. They didn’t bite, fortunately.
Anyway, I don’t think I’ve read anything explaining why the name is specifically “Black” lives matter, and not “All” lives or “American” lives or the like. If I was a skeptic (I am), and I didn’t get a straight answer for a question I had, especially for something that can be seen as discriminatory on the surface, I wouldn’t feel great about supporting it either. I get it.
Well, here’s the thing. We don’t need a reminder or a movement of White lives or Cop lives mattering in the United States because it’s pretty obvious that they do matter. We know their lives matter from the day we’re born, through every possible outlet. Look at our school textbooks. Look at our movies. Just…look around. A majority group doesn’t need reminders of their importance to society because the reminders are already everywhere.
Black lives? Ehhhhhhhh, not so much, you know? I’m not sure how much more proof of discrimination and marginalization a rational person would need at this point. Black people are discriminated against in terms of education (at every level), housing, finance, art, film, incarceration, getting in fraternities, getting interviews, getting jobs, promoting upwards, drug arrests, and basically everywhere else that’s important. That doesn’t even touch on the cognitive biases and negative stereotypes that have been masterfully crafted through the media since the moment they had to be more discreet about their means of slavery. Hell, do you know why anti-discrimination laws are even in place? Because if they had the chance, they would discriminate (more bluntly) all the time! Even now! In 2015!
You know why we can’t collectively focus on turning the tide on discrimination in all of those aforementioned areas? Because we have to worry about getting shot in the face by the people sworn to protect us and them not even being held accountable! And if that wasn’t enough, the poor families of those who were left behind probably just want to be totally devastated with some semblance of peace and dignity, but instead have to watch and listen to that person’s name and reputation get dragged through the mud posthumously while total strangers (and the news!) seriously grapple over whether he deserved to live because he smoked weed or something. That’s a big deal, you guys. And Black people shouldn’t be alright with that.
Many white people outwardly sympathize with this plight, but they don’t like the protests. Unfortunately, that’s the entire point of a protest. You’re not supposed to like it. It’s supposed to be disruptive. It’s supposed to get you out of your daily routine, whatever that may be, and make you notice what’s going on.
Another common reply is to be patient, since all of these wrongs will eventually be righted organically. The problem with that approach is that it never works that way. Ever. In the history of the world. History doesn’t change on a natural timetable. It changes through a spark and subsequent revolution. Even objectively, it doesn’t make any sense for a majority party to voluntarily cede power (or leverage or anything else of importance) to a minority one. Real, permanent change has to occur through force, whether it’s political, legal, or (God forbid) physical.
It’s one of the precious few drawbacks of being in the majority. As a man, I enjoy the many subtle and obvious privileges of being the majority party, and I can’t protest about how men are the ones who are really being discriminated against because women are fighting for equality. Reason #1 being that I’d be incorrect and Reason #2 being that I’d be incorrect while looking like a total moron to anyone who wasn’t a sexist or bigot. The same concept applies to race.
So yes, #BlackLivesMatter is a good thing, no, they shouldn’t change it to #AllLivesMatter and no, they shouldn’t operate at your convenience or on your timetable. Saying #AllLivesMatter is the equivalent of holding a Straight Pride Parade (this actually happened in Seattle) or supporting that terrible fucking “Menimist” twitter account.
Bill O’Reilly considers #BlackLivesMatter a hate group and has made it his personal mission to destroy it. It’s clearly a good thing.