The Thing With ‘Black Lives Matter’

Indeed, I am a white, relatively privileged woman, and so my thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement may not be of the upmost value. I do not share experiences of participating in political campaigns that involve the better treatment of my race; have never criticized authorities of discrimination and unfair conduct; have never feared being judged based on the different colour of my skin. No, I am not someone who completely understands the purpose behind Black Lives Matter, but unfortunately that’s what our society has been divided into – those who support the movement, and those who do not. For me, I believe I belong in the latter category.

Unfortunately, this opinion may be used against me based on my lighter tone of my skin. I might be deemed as an ignorant white person who doesn’t acknowledge the struggles that black people still face in modern day America. They are treated unfairly based on prejudices, which I completely sympathize with, but haven’t others? Aren’t there more shades of skin other than white and black? Admittedly, I respect every culture and the hardships of their heritage, which is why I’ve come to the conclusion that my issue with BLM isn’t about the race participating in it, but the races that are not.

Each time I see a black man arguing for their injustice in the police community, I think of the Spanish culture that are depicted as racists and thieves. Each time I see a black woman fighting for coloured female equality, I think of the Chinese women who are neglected and ignored. I understand that those who support the movement may be angered by my comparison, but as a granddaughter of immigrants who were called ‘spaghetti eaters’ and ‘wops’, I feel obligated to stand up for those who’s voice may not be as a big but feelings are just as important.

Earlier this year, Gordon Clark wrote an editorial article for The Province about the issue of BLM, stating that the movement will fail if “its members don’t move past anger or if strong leaders do not emerge to work for political and economic goals that will improve the lives of the most disadvantaged.” Similar to my opinion, he believes that minorities come to groups like Black Lives Matter to find solidarity, but it instead does more harm than good in advancing the cause of racial equality. In that context, it makes me think of why Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement was so successful. He conquered the racial revolution in the 1960s due to a peaceful approach, whereas BLM does it with anger and aggression. He should be a standing figure beyond the silence of his death – a reminder that change can be achieved without the unnecessary clash of cultures and societal disorder.

It’s almost unfair how complicated the debate of politics and social issues are, though, as confused as I am, I cannot ignore the fact that since the inception of this movement I have felt the shift between the black community and other minorities who have encountered similar struggles. I do understand the negative response towards the phrase ‘all lives matter’. It is easy to be angered by the statement when your culture appears to need more fixing than others, but I don’t think that is true. What about the Muslims who constantly fear of retaliation for crimes they didn’t even commit? Or the Mexicans who have been internationally identified as ‘rapists’ by a 2016 presidential candidate? Or the immigrants, who after years of terror in their own country, arrive in a safe harbour where they are still condemned and stripped from any title identifying them as a human being. This movement does not irritate me because it is led by the black community, but because they neglect to include the countless other cultures who share similar experiences of suffering from racism. And for this point many may be correct, that Black Lives Matter will only work if society joined together – but a society collected to change policies for all races, not just those of one specific civilization.

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