Trayvon Martin – Michael Brown – Eric Garner – Tamir Rice – Eric Harris – Walter Scott – Jonathan Ferrell – Sandra Bland – Freddie Gray – etc.
“Black Lives Matter” (BLM) became an international activist movement, sadly, in result of the death of Trayvon Martin. While it is no news that young, black, unarmed men were dying at the hands of the people that “protect and serve”, the Internet and millennials have made it practically impossible to ignore the issue any further. Whether through hashtags, protests, rallies, podcasts, broadcasts, marches, or “freedom rides”, the nation heard the “black lives matter” chant loud and clearly, and this has been proven through the numerous attempts of “journalists” to diminish and downplay the importance of it.
Constantly, we’ve been asked “don’t all lives matter?”, further misinterpreting the meaning and importance behind the movement, and in fact–possibly unintentionally–creating more of a division within the country. This has been very apparent even in the political world, when candidates are asked the same question. Huffington Post Politics writer Paul E. France explains: “by asking the question, “Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?” we asked our candidates to choose between what this loaded question made out to be two opposing groups of people. It created a sharp distinction between “black lives” and “everyone else”… Yes, we need to make all of our differences visible, and we need to celebrate the diversity that different races, sexualities, genders, and colors bring to our country. But along with that, we also need to ask questions that advocate for these different groups to work together…” While #BlackLivesMatter aimed at unifying the nation, regardless of the race, this thoughtless question continuously chips pieces away of the movement’s integrity bit by bit.
While this question remains as one of the largest issues in maintaining the relevance of the BLM movement, others have questioned, “do black lives still matter, if it’s not covered by the news anymore?” Watching a new tweet roll in every 30 seconds with the “BlackLivesMatter” or “BlackLivesStillMatter” hashtag, it’s evident that they still matter to the globe and are being discussed and shared via the Internet. Of course, there are still marches and rallies, panels and discussions, and even interviews being conducted on the behalf of all the lives taken (including black on black crime); however, how is a nation supposed to feel like their life matters, when mainstream media forgets about it after a day, week, month, or year? How is our “minority” nation, soon to be majority, supposed to feel when they see George Zimmerman being covered in the media for signing autographs at a gun show?
Feeling is a primary instinct that the majority group makes quite impossible for the minority group to ignore; much like when we have journalists expressing their “feelings” of the BLM movement segregating white people. We’re very aware when the majority “feels” like police brutality isn’t more of an issue than black on black crime. It’s apparent, when the mainstream media “feels” a certain way, which has been sloppily proven time and time again with the Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus scandal being a perfect example. We are forced to listen to these “feelings” of a majority group, but when it’s the other way around those feelings don’t matter, or they aren’t “buzz worthy”… until they are.
Nicki Minaj felt a certain way about the nominations based on her race. Whether or not race was actually a factor, her feelings were involved and should have been acknowledged. At that point, no, it is not about race, it’s about her raw emotions as an artist that already feels disadvantaged by both her gender and nationality. Of course, her feelings weren’t made into a big deal UNTIL the privileged Miley Cyrus–who is the same person that once complained that she can’t sing about drugs without looking like a druggie, but “Kendrick Lamar” can rap about LSD (false, it was A$AP Rocky”) and it’s cool–added her two cents. It wasn’t until Nicki Minaj personally called out Cyrus at the VMAS, live, that the media decided to acknowledge what Minaj had argued and FELT. Why does this example matter if it has nothing to do with black deaths, you might ask? It matters because something as small (on the larger spectrum) as this is shunned and swept under the rug until there’s no more room for hiding. If that’s the case for this, what are we supposed to feel about the larger end of the spectrum: BLM.
Yes, my dear ignorant and under-educated people of ALL races, we are aware that the BLM movement is controversial, confusing, shocking, touchy, “racy”, and even a bit uncomfortable to discuss. It is very apparent how this can make many people feel. But, isn’t that the point of any movement? If it were the opposite of all the above, would we make any progress? Quite frankly, it’s been proven to be difficult to make headway even being racy; how much improvement and change would we see if it were not?
Yes, the Internet is a powerful tool and imperative to the progression of this country; however, if the mainstream media is more focused on covering a pig jumping out of a truck or Tyga’s sad excuse for a famous life, do black lives still matter to the people that have the power to make it matter? If the feelings of those parents, siblings, friends, lovers who have lost someone due to police brutality are simply “resolved” with a settlement check, do black lives actually matter to the government? If an incident like the Spring Valley High School officer promotes arguments of whether or not this is an issue with “disrespect” and “disorderly conduct” in regards to the student, do black lives actually matter to society? If you can see black children being killed by any person and any means, and you can go on about your day without following the story or even wanting to watch the live videos, because it’s “too much to handle”, do black lives still matter to you? This isn’t a general question of whether or not black lives still matter, because the answer is clear as day: they do, they always have and they always will. The questions at hand are: do black lives still matter to you? Do black lives still matter to the media? Are black lives worth coverage over anything else?
I don’t have these answers for the world because I can only speak for myself. I simply believe it’s just very hard to feel like black lives still matter, when the media doesn’t provide room for people to feel the same. We’re forced to watch “black” and “white” arguements of who is right and wrong, and we’re seeing more feuds than a sense of “coming together”. There are the problematic people within the black community itself such as Stacy Dash and Raven Symone that do have power and do have some sort of say in the media, but choose to pretend they aren’t apart of it.
I am physically getting a headache writing this post, which is making me feel nausea. But, does that mean I should just stop caring?