in police brutality Politics Race ~ read.

What Lives Matter?

Facebook really sucks sometimes.

Now I'm not a Beyoncé fan. I don't own her albums, and in general I have little interest in her at all.

But the implications in this stupid graphic are stunning. Let's break them down:

  1. She demanded a police escort to the Super Bowl.
  2. She performed an 'anti-police' song.
  3. Somehow 5 police officers being attacked and killed are her fault.

For #1, listen: Every artist gets an escort to the Super Bowl. You know why you've never heard someone say, "Lenny Kravitz is about to perform, but he can't, because he's stuck in traffic?" Because it's never happened, because Lenny Kravitz got a police escort so he didn't have to sit in a knot of Super Bowl traffic when he's scheduled to perform.

Beyoncé didn't demand anything.

On to #2: What's anti-police about Formation? I hate that song, I don't get what's so awesome about it, but I've read the lyrics. It's all about Beyoncé being rich and country and 'slaying' and having hot sauce in her bag, because apparently this is music nowadays. But I digress.

I've watched the video, and there's definitely a lot more to find objectionable, if you hate the entire idea of Black Lives Matter, or attention being brought to the problem of police brutality...but that's the video, not the song.

As for the performance itself: Yeah, some people did the black power salute. So what? Most saw it for what it was: an expression of black pride. Not a way of saying, "We support cop killers."

As for #3, it's so idiotic that it refutes itself.

Below is an opus I wrote on Facebook about "Black Lives Matter", and perhaps it can explain the issue as I see it.

I realize that "all lives matter". And I don't think that anyone in the BLM movement would disagree with that. They are not saying that ONLY black lives matter, it's just a catchphrase to make a point.

The unspoken part of the phrase people are missing is this: "Black Lives Matter (as much as White or Brown lives matter)."

Because it seems that society has forgotten this. Maybe you haven't forgotten this. Fine. It's not about you, and it's not saying your life doesn't matter.

It's calling out a difference, and an important one, in how society treats black lives, compared to white ones. When blacks are dying at the hands of the police, society does not seem in general to view this as much of a problem.

When a black man in Wal-Mart can be holding a toy gun in the aisles and get shot by police, while white open-carry activists can walk with guns filled with live ammunition into a place of business and walk away without a scratch, there is a problem. (No, I'm not saying we should shoot open-carry activists. How about we just try real hard not to shoot anyone?)

Particularly with regards to the epidemic of unarmed black men being killed or harassed by the police, when they did nothing wrong. In the past, these things would happen, but no one spoke up about it. It was just business as usual.

But now the issue is being highlighted, and you have large groups of African-Americans and others standing up to say, "Our lives matter. You can't just murder us in cold blood because we are black, assuming that no one notices, that no one cares, that every unarmed black man who died deserved it, and that every police officer who committed the act is justified."

And they will continue to disrupt society until it's recognized that this is a problem, and those who hide behind their badge and escape punishment (damaging the reputation of good police in the process) are no longer almost guaranteed to avoid any jail time for breaking the law, and abusing their authority.

Final disclaimer: Yes, the vast majority of police are good people. Yes, it's an honorable profession. Pointing out that blacks are getting killed by the police at an appalling rate is pointing out an uncomfortable truth.

Not attacking "the Police" as a whole. The police should only feel like this movement is attacking them IF they acknowledge that the problem is not just a "few bad apples", but is, in fact, a pervasive problem.

I posted another rant on this topic here.

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