All lives should matter

William T. Robinson, Jr.

What can be more insulting for most Africans Americans than to be told, “All lives matter” by someone of the dominate White population? The average Black doesn’t know whether the person is being naïve, sarcastic or just plain racist. It can be seen as the epitome of insensitivity, literally telling Blacks that they are treated equally without bias and that by protesting, they are overreacting.

For those who are quick to say “all lives matter,” just look at the historic past and present view of how Blacks in this country have been treated and its shameful continuation to this day. Are  some Whites so presumptuous and arrogant they honestly feel Blacks are afforded the same consideration, equality, respect, and dignity that they (as the dominate population) enjoy?

Better yet, one could question whether the statement ‘all lives matter’ basically means that Blacks should be quiet, remain invisible, and continue accepting the status quo. The mere fact  that some Whites feel comfortable making that statement attests to the entitlements and privileges Whites enjoy, making them immune and insensitive to the bleak reality facing Blacks or other people of color. It ascribes to a dominant society that has systemically institutionalized racism in all venues, whether socially, politically or economically. It’s been so effective, it  doesn’t pose as an afterthought to  many Whites.

Even looking through the historical lens that tracks the horrendous experience of African Americans in this country, you find some Whites  upset at the outrage being manifested by Blacks and their White allies during the protests and demonstrations fueled by the death of George Floyd.  Some Blacks want to shout out to White American, “Stop playing games”; “Stop acting naïve”; “Stop trying to dilute or trivialize our pain.” Consider 400 years of mental and physical abuse inclusive of  slavery,  Black codes, chain gangs, Jim Crow,  discrimination segregation and exclusion still prevalent in Black lives on a daily basis, and you  question why Blacks would state specifically that “Black lives matter.”

The ground and the wind cry out from the raping, lynching, and brutal killings of Blacks since their arrival to this country. You need to ask why Blacks  are shouting  to the heavens “Black lives matter?” This country has done everything possible to exclude Blacks from benefiting from the fruits offered their White citizens, even though it was built on the sweat, tears and blood of free labor through slaves. You question why one would wonder if Black lives matter?

The cries of African Americans for equality and justice have been heralded throughout history, only to fall upon death ears. Blacks’ worth is trivialized and devalued by the powers to be. Adding insult to injury, the  oppressors calculated plans and plots to promote self hate among Blacks. One such plan was the Willie Lynch Plan that taught White slave owners how to incorporate measures among Blacks keeping them from coming together and loving each other that would last for thousands of years.

Historically our Constitution trivialized Blacks’ worth, valuing Blacks as only three fourths of a person. The Virginia Code of 1705 made it unpunishable for slave-owners  or other persons  to kill a slave for not obeying orders. The color of one’s skin has been used to delegate Blacks to a level of inferiority and lower intelligence, thus promoting White supremacy. Accepting that premise, Blacks have been taught they are inconsequential and irrelevant ever since their arrival in this country. These teachings are still been subliminally taught as well as openly conveyed.

They say those who write the history of a country  control the narrative of how a group is depicted. African Americans’ worth and contributions to America were trivialized or omitted for the most part by a racist White media. Depicting Blacks in such a  trivial and unproductive light only proliferated the dehumanizing treatment of Blacks by many of their  racist White counterparts.

Black lives have been regarded as insignificant  by law agencies. That has played a significant part in  the killing and disappearance of many Blacks throughout our history in this country. It doesn’t seem to matter that Blacks have played a prevalent role in serving this country in the military and as hard working law abiding citizens. The American flag representing liberty and justice has failed to embrace many Blacks. But you still wonder why Blacks cry out “Black lives matter.”

Cameras and cell phones have brought to national attention the brutal murders and heinous treatment by law enforcement agencies to our young Black men and women. Blacks have spent years telling White America what was happening to them. But their quest for justice and equality but was ignored. Can you imagine the thousands of cases that weren’t televised and the mendacious statements of crooked officers that went unreported?

The lack of concern for the lives of Blacks has caused White vigilantes to show their disdain for Black lives. And they still say all lives matter? Studies and reports have shown time and time again, the disparities in how Blacks are treated when compared to their White counterparts. ‘All live matters’ sounds good, but the reality is that it not the case in Black America—if you have been listening and watching. Hopefully, the day will come when all lives will matter—but drastic changes must occur.