Saturday, November 21, 2015

Violent Trump supporters demonstrate what it really means to say “All Lives Matter”

Problems with racism exist nationally, but hit home hard in Wisconsin as well

Frequently when Black Lives Matter protesters make their presence heard at any given event, it’s almost a guarantee that those who oppose them and their efforts will counter with the shrill line of “All Lives Matter.”

They must feel clever in making that assertion. After all, all lives DO matter -- to say otherwise suggests that there is preference for one group over another. Therefore, in the minds of the All Lives Matter camp, they hold the erroneous opinion that the BLM movement is promoting itself over all other lives.

But this misses the point entirely: it’s not that BLM supporters are saying only black lives matter, but rather that it’s time that black lives start to matter as equally as white lives. All lives ARE supposed to matter -- but it seems that in reality, black lives matter less than white lives do, and tragic events over the past few years seem to demonstrate such.

In short, the “Black Lives Matter” moniker isn’t a promotion of black lives over all other lives, but rather for black lives (and others) to achieve real equality in America.

Right now we live in a nation, to paraphrase George Orwell, where all lives are equal, but some are more equal than others. The letter of the law may say that black lives are equal to white lives, but in practice that’s clearly not the case.

A recent campaign event held by Donald Trump grants us more visual detail of what the All Lives Matter counter-protesters are all about. During the event, a BLM protester is visibly pushed, shoved, and kicked by Trump supporters. As he’s being escorted out of the area -- still being shoved while leaving -- chants of “All Lives Matter” begin.

This is precisely the irony that the All Lives Matter crowd is apparently unaware of -- as they kick and berate a black man, they insist that all lives are equally important. The abuse they lay onto this individual is evidence that all lives don’t really matter to them. Their words don’t match their actions.

They are proud to expel and beat this man as Trump himself says to “get him out of here” indignantly on the microphone. What they don’t realize, however, is that their violent acts justify exactly what the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to expose: that the lives African Americans aren’t valued as equally as white lives are in America.

This certainly isn’t the only incident that puts this willful ignorance of a problem into light. Countless examples in law enforcement and the criminal justice system demonstrate the unfair treatment of blacks as well. When a black woman is sentenced to twenty years in prison for shooting a warning shot against an abusive husband, but a white teen is acquitted of all charges for driving drunk and killing four because his upbringing was “too affluent,” there’s clearly a double standard evident in this country for everyone to witness.

But these actions being a part of the presidential campaign trail, the fact that a frontrunner’s supporters are proud of their violence against a physically defenseless black individual (all while Trump seems to look on approvingly), is even more telling of the problem.

The process of selecting a presidential candidate should itself be an all-inclusive event, discriminating against none and surely putting no one in harm’s way for expressing an opinion. A protester at a closed event can rightly be removed, but not through violent means that puts his health at risk.

Our state has its problems with this as well -- black lives should matter, but they don’t seem to matter much in Wisconsin. We’re seemingly satisfied with an education system that has the largest achievement gap in the nation between white and black students. Our justice system is equally riddled with problems: blacks are imprisoned in Wisconsin at a rate that’s higher than any other state in the country.

These issues need to be addressed. And until our elected leaders fix them, we cannot allow anyone to say with a straight face that “All Lives Matter.”

Actions speak louder than words. And our actions, throughout the U.S. and in Wisconsin, are undoubtedly showing us that some lives don’t matter as much as others. We have the power to change that -- and we must change it, sooner rather than later.

No comments:

Post a Comment