Why Black Lives Matter still matters
Whilst scientists have solved the puzzle of what came first: the chicken or the egg, many sane people are still puzzled by the question of what came first: the troll or the alt-right?
The alt-right are certainly a confusing bunch, with their extreme right-wing views and ridiculous statements, with their most famous product being Donald Trump. The difficulty in trying to decide whether something is originally alt-right or trolling is exemplified by Joey Salad’s Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter social experiment video that recently went viral. For those of you who haven’t watched the video, Joey goes to a white neighbourhood with a “Black Lives Matter” sign and to a black neighbourhood with an “All Lives Matter” sign to gauge reactions or more appropriately, to incite some click-bait violence.
Although the intention of Joey clearly is to portray African-Americans as thuggish, aggressive and hateful, for anyone with critical thinking faculties the video has a huge foundation of irony. He attempts to show how divisive BLM (Black Lives Matter) is by showing white people becoming irritated and them reminding him how “All Lives Matter”, but the irony lies in that in order to speak to the different races he has to go to different neighbourhoods. These divisions between race existed long before Black Lives Matter.
I was one of those white people in a white neighbourhood. I attended a private school in Virginia in a very nice leafy suburb with two country clubs, plenty of boutiques and two private schools (one coincidentally set up following desegregation so white students could avoid integration).
As an international student, it struck me that there were very few black families in the neighbourhood – until you reached “the ghetto”. The differences in neighbourhoods is a manifestation of the opportunity and attainment gap that exists between white and the black people (and other minorities) in the USA. At every meal at school I felt angry that I was served by an all-black staff in a predominantly white city. Did the plantation hierarchy ever die? These divisions that white Americans try to ignore because they raise difficult questions have existed long before, and it is the BLM movement that is working for the solution. The slogan “All Lives Matter” is a laudable ideal but it is just that – an ideal. It is not reality.
The alt-right ignore facts. Black lives are evidently not valued equally in a country where in some states schools with over 90% black students receive $4,380 per student less than schools with over 90% white students. The most extreme manifestation of America’s racial equality is the unjustified police brutality against African-Americans in the street for minor infractions. Joey Salad’s alt-right attempt to show black people as aggressive, and white people as unifying, further points out that while many white Americans are ignoring reality their fellow African-American citizens are not meekly accepting America’s racist status quo.
(Image courtesy of Joey Salad’s youtube)