When we no longer have to insist that our lives matter, we will have achieved somethng.
And we're a long way from that.
I found this little dollop of goofiness (left) on Facebook a few hours ago–one of those pictures that purports to put things in perspective, but really tells us nothing.
Zip. Nada. Niente. Nic.
It's supposed to remind us that it's not just Black lives that matter, but us poor white folk need respectin' too.
Silly white folks—and yes I'm one of them, so I know we've been getting respect for about 400 years. We don't really need more, unless we earn more.
Lives matter? In general? It's hard to argue with that sentiment, but the sentiment is deflection, pure and simple. It isn't racism to put "Black" in front of "lives matter," but it is racism to call someone a racist because he doesn't give in to this gibberish.
It makes me wonder also if those people screaming “Lives Matter” to counteract the “Black Lives Matter” movement, got that worked up over the children who were imprisoned, separated from their parents, allowed to become ill, and in some cases died at our southern border so that the “very stable genius” Donald Trump—one of those who maintain that lives matter—could stem the flow of "murderers and rapists" entering our country from Mexico and points south. Did the Lives Matter folks get all worked up? Because I didn't hear them,
Usually they're busy preserving the lives of fetuses, and generally less interested in making sure that before those fetuses become people their mothers have health care, prenatal care, and cancer screenings. Then after these fetuses become people, especially black or brown people, the card waving Lives Matter society doesn't give much of a damn if those children have equal educational opportunities so that they can one day earn a living wage like the white folks. Lives may matter, but if they're lived by black or brown people, they don't seem to matter quite so much.
Trump is on record for denigrating all the impoverished African countries and seeking more Scandinavian immigrants. If all lives matter shouldn’t someone from Kinshasha have the same merit and importance—be the same in the eyes of God—as someone from Helsinki? I wonder also, if all lives matter, why Trump’s hatred of Barack Obama runs so deep, and why the whole birtherism fiasco ever had legs. It put Trump on the map and labeled him a racist; then America responded by electing him president.
I wonder, if all lives matter, why Donald Trump refused to rent apartments to Black Americans in the 80s (he preferred “Jews and executives”) and why it infuriated him that Black workers in his failed Atlantic City casinos were allowed to handle money. Whenever he and his family were visiting, all Black workers were removed from the floor. I guess they sort of mattered, but not enough.
I wonder, if all lives matter, why the coronavirus has given the president—has given Americans—carte blanche to denigrate Asians and Asian Americans because the virus originated in China. We know his racist clever quips are intended to obscure the fact that his response (actually his failure to respond) to the pandemic has cost, by many estimates—60,000 lives. Mixed signals, no signals and a general mien of idiocy have left us on our own and waiting for the next shoe to drop. He'll blame China, and another 100,000 will die. I wonder if their lives will have mattered.
All lives matter? Yes, they do, now a message to the Lives Matter folks: stop whining. White privilege has been cultivated and nurtured for 400 years, and still we whine over the possibility that another race might catch a break?
No, you keep your cutesy poster—it's a nice snapshot of a moment in time that may very well be repeated in thousands of places every day. But it will only mean something when we see this and say, "Yeah? So?" When all lives really matter we won't seek lessons in the treatment or mistreatment of one race by another, and we’re a long way from that.