You hear the opinions. The increase in negativity you feel around you. Maybe you are old enough to remember and enjoy the quiet pre-internet. You remember when you didn’t know what people who are more associate or familiar strangers ate for dinner or what they were thinking about politics. Less white noise. Things were more quiet.
But as the saying goes “opinions are like a%^holes, everyone has one and some stink !”
Don’t get me wrong the irony of me offering my opinion is not lost on me but I promise to add enough facts to make it palatable. Let me share some often spewed opinions we’ve all heard that need more facts.
“We live in a post racial society.” When the US President is called nigger and disrespected because of his skin color even though he is bi-racial. After the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner have again highlighted the long ongoing struggle between blacks and predominantly white police forces regarding policy, procedure, accountability and action, we know we aren’t in any post racial utopia. We never fell for that bullshit.
“Whites are the enemy” – what whites ? All of them ? You want me to walk the streets thinking that the boy I grew up with, shared snacks and toys with, debated top mc’s and global politics with is my enemy? The one that asked me to speak at his wedding reception ? Or the family that lives a few blocks away and has been civically active alongside my family for a decade ? Or the guy my age from Southie who loves his city like I do and grew up the same as I did and now works in politics to serve his city ? I pick my enemies they way I pick my fantasy basketball team, carefully with much thought, research and consideration.
“Most blacks are killed by blacks, so why no protest there ?” – Interestingly, that is a fact. If you don’t count the rape and pillage of sub Saharan africa or the transatlantic slave trade. But this is true of all races and most tribes. Whites are killed mostly by whites, Latinos by Latinos, Capeverdeans by Capeverdeans, Asians by Asians and so on. Two things happen when that statement comes out. First, it makes you think and some BELIEVE that we (blacks) don’t protest the death of blacks when killed by another black. Well, that’s a lie. You know it is a lie. You know you have seen peace walks, rallies, protests and more right here in Boston long before Trayvon was killed. Whether you joined it or ignored it or thought it was effective is a different issue all together. But I and many people I respect have walked with strangers to mourn, protest and rally together to stop the killing of black boys and girls. Second, that statement infers that we should be more concerned about us killing us than sworn law enforcement killing unarmed civilians and our tax payer dollars feeding a judicial system not interested in accountability. It is sad when a Don Trump or some right winger says it. But when I hear it from those who I know know better it makes me wonder, are they communicating their ideas poorly ? Do they believe what they are saying ? Are they regurgitating some ish they heard but don’t fully understand ?
A young Capeverdean man was Boston’s first murder victim of 2015. I would say he is black. I have seen the protest of his killing, the mourning from coaches, friends, extended family immediately and consistently since the news broke. (my condolences to his friends and family as many of them are friends of mine) May he rest in peace and may all forgive.
There are people from all walks that work every day to break the cycle of revenge and death. That is protest. That is action. Long sustained action. Not a hashtag or a photo on social media. Join the work, respect the work and add some facts to your opinions.
It is the opinion of many uninformed people that Al Sharpton & Eugene Rivers are the spokespeople for African Americans nationally & locally. This is often believed because media outlets that don’t even like you or your community rush to them for comment because it pisses off another demographic that doesn’t like you or your community. Heck, I helped elect President Obama and former Governor Deval Patrick and I disagree often with them and don’t consider them my spokesperson. That’s not what I voted for them to be.
No racial or ethnic group is a monolith. I had to inform a woman just the other day that yes, I occasionally enjoy grape soda but no, I dislike watermelon and fried chicken.
If you don’t think rallies are productive, cool don’t rally. But that is your opinion. The fact is, for many, rallies are productive in raising awareness, bringing people together in solidarity, meeting and making allies.
If you don’t think politics is a good way to change policy, cool don’t vote. But you know there were some people who disagree with you and died so you could have that opinion before you were born. Fact is there are elected officials who care and do good work. Fact is you may be unaware or unwilling to form a relationship/coalition with them.
#blacklivesmatter is a hashtag and it is a true statement. The sentiment is born out of a feeling that has been present here in America since slavery and that is that our lives don’t matter. It is not an organization that is now responsible to speak and act for you.
#alllivesmatter is a hashtag and is a true human rights sentiment. Both ideas and sentiments are not mutually exclusive. They can both co-exist like the love I have for good neighbors and good cops and the disdain I have for bad neighbors and bad cops.
If you have a strategy that works for you and/or others. I ask that you employ that strategy, share it, lead and be ready for the opinions of others but don’t lose sight of the facts or offer opinions in the place of facts.