#blacklivesmatter Backlash 

Sherry Felix 

Backlash to the blacklivesmatter hashtag has become the latest indication to Black folks (amid a recent slew of clues) that the nature of whites’ denial about the differences in the daily lives of Black Americans versus others’ is rampant, even among those who purport to be on “our” side. The hashtag has been met with rejection and cries of “all lives matter”, and being presented with even the simplest Venn dichotomy, it’s as if one has to be false for the other to be true, which is not the case at all. 

Liberal types that are not black have taken this as an opportunity to present a conflation that does not exist, and feel compelled to insist that “all lives matter”. 

Antithetical arguments are presented that show that Black people are being exclusive and isolationist, and some politicians are even compelled to present this as a need of Black folks to be insistent on being separate but equal, and the suggestion is, of course, that this is detrimental 

Contrary to popular opinion, African-Americans are proud Americans, and, though some don’t see a need for it, ALSO proud Black people (not necessarily in that order). 

Kindred spirits who are able to NOT BE Black, yet understand that this need for recognition of the things that are unique to the black experience should be acknowledged seen not as a personal rejection but rather as an individual-group reaction to the roadblocks we are faced with in our daily lives, from our work to our worship, from our kids to their killings. 

Loving ourselves should not be seen as feeling “less for others”; however, we are dismayed at the accusation from those Americans who feel our especially protective love for ourselves should be taken as an affront to others in that it lessens our own ability to love others equally, which is patently untrue. 

Institutional racism IS a thing…that being said: 

Verisimilitude, or truth in the telling, is not something that institutions strive for, and nope, corporations are NOT people… so if as Americans we can never admit that there is such a thing as racism in schooling, racism in housing, racism in policing…let’s just say it: many of our American ways of doing things will continue to be racist, and whether it has happened by intent or happenstance should be seen as irrelevant to the current conversation. 

Exceptional as we are as a group, Americans as individual are often unable to divest ourselves of the feelings of guilt that arise when we are truthful about how we see AfricanAmericans being treated. But rather than embrace those feelings and side with us by speaking WITH us and not ABOUT us is likely to be the only way we learn how to mollify and assuage those feelings… because in that way we will be engendering real change in how our institutions are run by speaking out about their wrongdoings. 

Separate but equal is NOT a thing. While, yes, the Supreme Court affirmed that for us, it would behoove us to allow ourselves as white Americans to agree that we are trying to “make it so” without really admitting that it isn’t. 

Money and economics and their disregard is not usually factored into it when pundits attack the hashtag’s deeper connotation and refuse to acknowledge that little things like perceptions of power make a difference in whether a police officer sees what may soon be his victim as one worthy of the respect due a human being. By this I mean that rich Black folks get “the pullover” just like the poor ones, because color supersedes all. 

Accepting that Black lives matter could never take away from the fact that, OF COURSE, all lives do; but while “all lives matter” doesn’t bear repeating, certainly , in this climate of open season on Black people, it bears acknowledging that Black mothers “feeling some type a way” about the way their babies are being summarily snatched away from them in heart-breaking fashion. 

Too often the police state of mind creates a police state in that Black lives seem disregarded, and Black boys most particularly, get treated like animals. 

That Black mothers also feel that this state of affairs, from should break the “mother’s” heart in all of us, yet we don’t get that if you say “all kids matter”, because “duh! Of course they do!”. 

Everyone deserves his or her life to be validated, so whether you think all lives matter or not it’s like saying to someone who, in a fit of passion says, “you act like I don’t matter” and you respond with “everybody matters to me”. Does that make sense? 

Regardless of color, we as humans should be able to see ourselves in one another; in this way we might be better able to respect our similarities and accept our differences. 

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