(This is a long one. Reserve your angry seething until the end, lest you look foolish for premature-commentulation.)
Justice for Floyd
First, let me preface this by saying that what happened to George Floyd was absolute garbage, with zero exception or justification (unless somehow, some sort of highly-unlikely magical evidence comes to light that throws new light on the situation, but I wouldn’t hold my breath—no pun intended, sometimes it’s exactly as it seems). Chauvin (a literal chauvinist) should be thrown in jail and kept in gen-pop for the Black Brotherhood to do its thing… (but of course, he’ll be kept in ad-seg for the duration of his stay ¬_¬).
Also, even though the expression ACAB is offensive because any sort of generalization is ignorant and it should be SCAB (which is just a better acronym) because some definitely are, it is quite frustrating to see so much footage of police abusing their power and doing absolutely horrible things in the riots. The looters aren’t the only ones who think it’s open season and all bets are off.
♪ “But You’re Not the Only One” ♪
That said, there is a frustrating problem with the Black Lives Matter movement. It is incredibly US-centric (with a little Canada and UK thrown in). Yes, racism in the US has to stop, but the BLM movement focuses only on black people in the West, but they are not the only ones affected by racism. Canada’s discussions and protests have also mentioned aboriginals, but the focus still stays on black lives. There are people being oppressed and killed because of racism and prejudice all around the world but not all of them are black or killed by police (in fact, few are). Even the Tutsi who are black weren’t killed by police, but regular Hutu citizens in the Rwandan genocide.
Here’s just a few current examples:
- Aboriginals/First-nations in Canada and Australia still being oppressed
- Kurds massacred by ISIL and oppressed by everybody
- Rohingya slaughtered by the Burmese government
- Muslims killed by Tibetan monks!
- Uyghurs being put into detention-centers (probably soon death-camps) by China
- Tanzanians killing albinos because of superstition and to make muti (traditional African “medicine”)
There are many less-current examples of oppression and murder of people because of their skin, religion, or other attributes, from the Holodomor and Holocaust to the many genocides, to Operation Blue Star which was done by Indira Gandhi who shares a name with the most famous non-violent protestor of all. 🤦
And then, there’s the literally countless animals that are murdered by humans all the time, but humans think they are “superior” to animals, so they don’t even count them. (The worst part is that in the same breath as humans try to justify killing animals due to their “superiority”, they’ll turn around an justify other bad behaviors by saying “animals do it; humans are just animals”. Hypocrisy is disgusting. 😒)
Quantity >>> Quality
To make things worse, despite how it may seem due to all the media coverage, black people are being oppressed and killed by police at a much lower rate than other minorities. (School-shootings seem to happen more often in the US than cops killing black people. 😕) Moreover, the immediacy is overstated, there are not thousands of black people being killed by police right this moment, it’s not as time-critical as it feels. I’ve seen some people throw around numbers like 1,200 black Americans shot by police since 2014, but most of those were regular encounters with suspects and armed criminals (how many such encounters were there with Mexicans or whites or others?); not all of them were encounters with unarmed, people who were already subdued, otherwise there would have been a lot more reports in the media. The list of ones that were “newsworthy” is much shorter…
…of course, any is too much. Yet, the truth is that there are only a few black people being killed by cops every now and then; maybe a few per year are killed in a way that is bad enough to make the news. Other minorities are being oppressed and killed by the hundreds, even thousands. Entire villages are wiped out, millions of people put into detention centers like it’s 1942 all over again.
Addressing police violence towards black people in the West is like fixing a leak in a boat by throwing some water out with a cup. At best, it just slightly fixes the problem for a moment. The real fix is to plug the hole. The real fix is to work to make everyone more empathetic and compassionate towards all living things (including animals and plants). The real fix is to stop people from being harmful to others. This is why AllLivesMatter makes more sense; BlackLivesMatter feels offensively self-serving to other oppressed minorities (and anyone who knows about them). Yes, some people use ALM as a way of being racist, but screw them; who cares what they think? They can take their dog-whistle and shove it. If black people can reclaim the n-word, then non-racists can reclaim ALM to mean what it says on the tin. (That said, BlueLivesMatter and WhiteLivesMatter are definitely not going to win any favors despite the inexcusable 2016 attack on Dallas police.)
Of course, making humans stop being horrible is a long-term goal (and in all likelihood, impossible), so it does make sense to work towards a more immediate goal like trying to purge police-forces of aggressive bigots and prevent them from being hired in the future. The problem with that, is that this problem that is specific to black people in the West is getting all the attention and the people being oppressed in other parts of the world are being ignored and forgotten. So if anything, black Westerners are to other oppressed minorities as whites are to blacks. Therefore, ironically, they are benefiting from their privilege of being a Westerner. In other words, there are gradations of oppression and being a black Westerner is the “1%” of oppressed minorities. It is not okay to treat one group’s suffering as more important than another’s.
Another problem with BLM is that they keep mentioning Michael Brown in their lists of victims. Michael Brown was NOT a victim. An investigation was done, witnesses (including black ones) were questioned, evidence was examined, and in the end, it was concluded that Michael Brown was a violent criminal whose death was his own responsibility. His friend who initially gave reporters an account of the incident was discovered to be flat-out lying when it was revealed that he was a few blocks away at the time. Witnesses who were actually there explained how the cop did not just start shooting and that Brown was the one who initiated the incident. An old black man who witnessed the event even said that he was surprised by the cop’s self-control and that if he had been the cop, he would have shot Brown much sooner and more times. Stop including Michael Brown in your lists of black victims! There are (too) many examples of actual black victims of police, so use those, stop going back to the poisoned well of Ferguson. His family has my sympathies for their loss, you can’t control what your loved ones turn into—I’m reminded of a scene from I Saw the Devil (2010)—but I do not feel anything for Michael himself. Being a minority is a not get-out-of-jail-free card to do bad things with impunity. 😒 (When it happened, there were only two main photos of Michael Brown being circulated and he looked scary in both; they couldn’t even find a recent photo of him where he looked nice and innocent. ¬_¬)
Hiring: New Symbol
Another problem is that in 2016, Colin Kaepernick started a trend of kneeling as a symbol of solidarity towards black victims of racism, but this is no longer a good way to show solidarity because the aptly-named Chauvin “took a knee” on George Floyd’s neck, so its meaning has changed. :-\
The Purge: Real Life (2020)
Finally, during the protests, the concept of defunding, abolishing, or otherwise dismantling the police has gotten wrapped up as part of BLM. This notion is absurd, short-sighted, narrow-minded, and just plain idiotic. There are explanations like that most 911 calls are about mental-health problems or that activists can do a better job, or to use other types of professionals. 🙄 A psychiatrist is not going to find your kidnapped child, a civil-rights activist is not going to protect your family from gangs. If you get rid of the police, then it will be The Purge, that’s a money-back guarantee.
Just look at the protests themselves, they immediately turned into riots and looting. Apparently people learned nothing from Baltimore in 2015 and just did the same damned thing all over again. 🤦 How is a group of people stealing Louis Vuitton bags helping black people not get killed? How is trashing a neighborhood bodega stopping police from being racist? How is setting a building full of people on fire and then blocking the hydrants and firetrucks to prevent them from evacuating the building and putting out the fire doing anything other than murder‽
If there is one guarantee, it’s that humans cannot be trusted to do the right thing on their own. Just look at “Boaty McBoatface”. ¬_¬ As long as humans exist, law-enforcement will be required. That said, police equipment definitely should be demilitarized. It is very bad that local police have military-grade arms. Unfortunately, just taking away their guns and pointing at the police in the UK won’t work everywhere because criminals in some places are just so much more dangerous, that the police have to be more heavily armed and armored. Gangs, cartels, etc. are not going to be stopped with a baton. Nevertheless, local police definitely don’t need heavy (or any) deadly weapons; that’s why there are SWAT teams and soldiers around to handle those much-rarer cases of dangerous armed criminals.
“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
Some people argue that “defund the police” doesn’t mean to get rid of them completely, but rather to reduce their budgets and redistribute it to other sectors like social-services and community programs and resources.
First of all, if that’s the case, then stop using the term “defund”; it means to remove funds, and thus means to get rid of them completely. Use a proper, unambiguous term that doesn’t lead to confusion. Say what you mean and mean what you say. ¬_¬ Moreover, regardless of what a few people may or may not mean, the vast majority of people chanting or spray-painting “defund the police”, do in fact mean “defund” as a synonym for “abolish”.
As for the goal of redistributing money, there just isn’t enough money going to police-departments to make those things as effective as people would like. Yes, some police-departments have absurdly high budgets, but even if you take a big bite out of those, once you slice it up to all the places that people want to fund, there just isn’t enough to make it work. It wasn’t that long ago that people were complaining that the police are as under-funded as schools. The fact is, that you simply can’t eliminate law-enforcement; people will continue to do bad things regardless of how well you try to make life for everyone to prevent them resorting to crime because not everybody does crime as a reaction to poverty and bad circumstances.
Not holding my breath
In summary‡, don’t be a butthole. If everyone could just live by that one rule, the world could be a better place. Is it really so much to ask, it’s not even asking to do something, rather to not do something, surely that’s easier? 🤨 🤷
Ray of hope
After all is said and (said and said and) done, there is one reason that #BLM is still good and useful despite it only (at least on the surface) catering to just one specific group. It stirs up discussion and demands for change (for the better). Once it does that, it can spread to other groups (as Canada has been doing by discussing first-nations peoples). It’s like Arab Spring for civil-rights; it starts with one, but spreads to others as well. It’s just important to make sure to keep all lives in mind and not forget that even if all prejudice is wiped out in the US, that doesn’t mean the problem is over.
On a side note, something that’s always baffled me is why is it that whenever there’s an incident like these, the families never seem to be able to provide the media with a good photo of the victim, why do they always end up giving them an unflattering photo? It can’t be poverty because none of the people in question are so poor that they’re lives are living hells where they can’t muster a smile for a photo when a friend or family member takes your picture. I suppose the families might be rushed and don’t have time to go through photos to find a good one, or maybe they’re still too raw from grief to be able to stand looking at their lost loved one, but surely they have at least one person in their lives who can do it. :-\ It would definitely help if they could provide the media with a nice photo of the victim; it would generate a lot more outrage that the person was killed for no reason.
† Yes, the title is (partially) click-bait.
‡ I’ll update this post as necessary, as information is learned, as ideas change, and so on.