It's two in the morning on some dilapidated street long ago rid of it's once bustling businesses and it's pride. There, just off to the side on the cracked sidewalk, lying face down, limbs helter skelter, blood pooling onto the cold concrete below, is the body of some fifteen year old gang banger, shot and killed for doing what gang bangers do. The police arrive some minutes later, not in the least bit surprised by the scene or the age of the kid given the neighborhood and the street they are on where this happens two to three times a month, maybe up to five times a month in summer months. They question a few on lookers who of course, heard nothing and saw nothing. It doesn't even register on the news in the morning as being newsworthy despite the usual mantra of, if it bleeds it leads. They can't really "sell" the story of the same types of kids ending up in the same place every night without some new angle, and there really isn't one.
I think it makes a lot of people sleep better at night if they can stand up there and say to people that all lives matter, not just certain lives. However, each of us knows those lives don't matter to the same degree, or for some, certain lives have no significance at all. For something to matter, it means that we consider it to be significant or of importance, worth actually doing something about, but "a gang banger doing what gang bangers do," and getting killed over it is hardly something any of us have ever actually put much thought into. I mean, what did he expect given the life he led, we say. Oh, yeah, you hear about shootings all the time, there, we remark as if we were talking about the amount of blue jeans we saw people wearing on our afternoon jog through the park.
Anyone can say anything and hold up a sign in some protest, but just merely saying all lives matter doesn't actually do anything, and the same goes for holding up black lives matter posters unless there is action behind it. The reasons BLM came into being initially, was to shed light on a lot of the inequalities in the judicial system in regards to people of color, to address racial profiling, to speak about poor education in undeserved neighborhoods, to deal with police injustice and the like, and at least for me looking at the situation now, those ideas, though still there, and held by many, have disintegrated under the weight of attention seekers, under the weight of those not actually a part of the cause and wanting to cause trouble, and a lack of any sort of formal or informal leadership much the way the 1% campaign did not to long ago. I'm not here to discredit the thousands of people who really are and do advocate for change and do have noble intentions to help their fellow man or woman, but as a movement, the cause is not what it was once hailed to be and may be hurting more now, than it is helping.
All lives matter protestors are no better. It seems all they want to yell about is how they either feel somehow that they have been excluded from the movement or want to impose the name upon the movement rather than actually use their platform to talk about the problems we all face under the umbrella of all lives matter. On either side, there have been no real tangible long lasting effects of the protests like improving neighborhoods for all people, improving the educational systems for all, challenging a broken and unfair judicial system or challenging the police officers across the nation, the actual few, who are corrupt and abusing their positions. On both sides it's just turned into a screaming match for which there have yet to be any winners of any kind.
We don't live in a world where people are equal. We like to say it a lot, like holding up these protests signs, but any of us sitting alone without the crowds, without the signs, without the media, being asked whether we believe we live in a fair world that treats everyone as equals would be very hard pressed to check that yes box. If we are being honest, which most of us rarely are with ourselves, we don't really and truly in our hearts believe all lives matter.
We say stop dividing us, stop putting labels on us, stop separating us, but at every single conceivable turn, we separate ourselves from others in so many ways even beyond just whatever our race happens to be.
We don't actually want to be equals, we, specifically thinking of ourselves and our families, want better treatment for ourselves. We don't want the poor living in our well off neighborhoods and schools. We don't want some grandmother who can't afford her life saving medications on her own due to failing health, to receive assistance if it means our insurance rates go up. We don't want token minority kids or the token white kids to get the opportunity to attend our schools if it means we or our children don't get a spot.
We don't want our son or daughter to get the same long sentence for petty crimes as the dissimilar race teen sitting on the bench next to them in an effort for equality. We don't want men to be allowed into our all girls gym. We don't care that some waste management plant has been pumping toxins into the air for years giving children in a disadvantaged neighborhood cancer for decades if that means, we don't have to have it in our neighborhood. We don't care about the one or two corrupt cops on the force if basically everyone else is doing their job. We don't care that the internet is filled with people who routinely make racist or sexist remarks as long as they aren't directed at us.
Most of us don't really and truly care about anybody else but ourselves and our own because all we ever do is say these or those lives matter, but we do nothing about making that so other than to say we are in an effort to convince ourselves and others that we care more about the world, it's problems, or it's people any more than we do, which is very little.