Friday, July 8, 2016

Black Lives Matter and America

Anyone who doesn’t recognize that Black people, in America, have been disproportionally impacted by violence (in many forms)…and suffered violence and its effects because of their race…is simply not paying attention to 400 years of history.  This is why there is a need for a Black Lives Matter movement.  No one is asking for anything other than the ability to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, to enjoy “certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  There is nothing at all controversial about wanting these things.  Yet, there seems to be controversy, why?

The sad, cold reality is that there are those, out of fear, hate, and/or ignorance, who choose to commit acts of harm against Black men, women, and children.  Their motivations may vary but the end result is the same.  The frustration is that there are those who refuse to accept the fact that this has occurred throughout our nation’s history, and that it continues to the present day.
The hypocrisy is one of the more troubling elements.  Let’s employ a simple version of philosopher John Rawls and his moral constructs.  If rational people, placed behind a “veil of ignorance” and put into an “original position” where they would not know their race or other characteristics, were compelled to design a society, they would probably not formulate one where slavery or race-based discrimination existed, knowing that they could be part of an ethnic minority facing such treatment. 

So why then, for example, is it acceptable in the United States, for Black male teens to be 21 times more likely to be killed by police compared to white male teens? These are recent statistics, compiled by ProPublica from 2010 – 2012.  What mindset says that these numbers don’t represent a continuation of a horrific human tragedy?  Aren’t we, as a society, supposed to be better than this?  Where are those “patriots” who fail to man the ramparts against what should be considered un-American behavior?  They seem to stand silent, frozen atop feet of clay.  
We live in a heterogeneous Republic, “color-blindness” is a failure to recognize our nation as it is. This is why there is, and needs to be, a Black Lives Matter movement.  With true equality in America far more of an aspiration than a grounded actuality, there needs to be voices clamoring not for “special treatment,” but for fundamental justice, fair treatment, and the freedom to live in peace with one’s neighbors.   

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

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