I’m mixed. biracial. mulatto.
Whatever you want to call it, I’m half black. half white.
Which makes me something of a conundrum within the black community, a community where you’re either in or you’re way WAY out, where if you’re not for the cause you’re for The Man. So long as us half-breeds toe the proverbial line—talk black, think black, act black—the “one drop” rule still applies and we’re a welcome part of the club. Act contrary though, and, oh I don’t know, start pronouncing your “e”’s and “r”’s, vote Republican, or do any other number of things that white people do and all of a sudden you were never black to begin with, or you’re just an ignorant white-washed Oreo Uncle Tom, which is even worse.
For a long time I cared a lot about how I was perceived by the black community and stressed a great deal about where/how/if I fit into it, going so far as to pretending I liked rap music and buying a bunch of Baby Phat clothes (yes, this was the early 2000s). I went through a somewhat extended racial identity crisis that began in college (the first time I was ever called an Oreo, actually) and which I finally made peace with only last year.
I’ve thought a lot about race over the last decade as I’ve tried to resolve my personal insecurities and make sense of how my own life and family experiences compare with the black narrative that dominates US pop culture and sociopolitical thought these days. Probably not more so than the last couple years, however, since Michael Brown got shot and the entire nation collectively lost its mind.
Because that black narrative that was only pseudo-popular and only discussed on the fringe before Michael Brown and Black Lives Matter—that all problems within black communities can be attributed to whites, past and present, individual and institutional, that all blacks are oppressed by this system, and that all whites, thanks to their malignant white privilege, are the cogs that intentionally or unintentionally drive this racist machine—is now mainstream, front and center, and broadcast constantly.
It has now been deemed the only socially and morally acceptable way to frame discussions regarding race.
And if you’re white, don’t even think about speaking publicly about race. But if you do, make sure you begin by 1. Apologizing profusely for being white 2. Lamenting your guilt about your unearned white privilege and then 3. Dive straight into the aforementioned talking points ^^^.
But that whole tune never sat right with me: 1. Because it didn’t seem accurate 2. It didn’t seem productive and 3. It didn’t seem fair, to whites or blacks; it certainly wasn’t my story, and while my dad experienced discrimination and bigotry first hand, and his parents were hit with way more than he was, I was raised to view the world through a very different lens.
I’ve been finding that the more this narrative is shoved in my face by blacks and whites, friends and the media, the more it upsets me, to the point that I’ve hardly thought about anything else these past two weeks. And these past two weeks I’ve seen so much #BlackLivesMatter I thought I might have an aneurysm.
To put it plainly, I don’t support the Black Lives Matter movement; I’ve been wary of it since it became wildly popular after Ferguson.
There are so so so many reasons I won’t get behind it. It’s divisive. It’s inflammatory. It’s inaccurate. It exploitive. It’s illogical and devoid of objectivity, sound reasoning or fact. And sadly, my guess is that most people who use the hashtag have never actually read any of their literature and don’t really know what they stand for.
Take Ferguson for example.
Even after separate federal and county investigations were conducted, and in light of physical and forensic evidence and corroborating witness testimony which proved Michael Brown stole from a convenience store, physically threatened the owner, brutally attacked a police officer and attempted to steal his gun (again, proven by DNA, forensic, and physical evidence and witness testimony), Black Lives Matter still claims that Brown’s death was unjustified murder. They’ve never condemned Brown’s criminal activity or acknowledged that his own actions contributed to the events that unfolded that day. They still won’t walk back their scathing accusations against Darren Wilson, the police officer whom Brown might have killed had things gone even slightly differently during their two minute altercation. In their own words, they still believe that “It didn’t matter whether Brown had been guilty of theft or assault…Brown should not have been killed.”
Could Wilson have attempted to use a taser first? Maybe. But if I’d been in his shoes, if I’d been alone and outnumbered, if I’d been punched in the face by a guy twice my size, if I’d been attacked by a criminal so brazen or so high and so unpredictable he wasn’t the least bit hesitant to get violent with a police officer whom he knew was armed; in the split second I had to grab for something to defend myself, I can tell you in all honesty…
I’d have gone straight for the gun.
But it was that type of rhetoric, spouted off by those who would go on to support Black Lives Matter, the most inflammatory of which occurred in the immediate wake of Michael Brown’s killing before anyone knew anything about the circumstances surrounding the incident, that incited mass looting, violent protesting, and the retaliation killings of two innocent police officers.
It’s the same rhetoric and impassioned (and senseless) logic that’s spurring other hate-filled monsters to murder innocent men and women in cold blood. Another mass shooting targeting law enforcement is happening in Baton Rouge as I type.
We all know Michael Brown and Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. How many know the names of the police officers that were gunned down in Dallas?
Brent Thompson: Recently married.
Patrick Zamarripa: Father of two.
Michael Krol: Worked hard to become officer.
Lorne Ahrens: Dedicated professional.
Michael Smith: Family man.
But what of the state sponsored genocide against blacks? The epidemic of wanton police brutality threatening to decimate African Americans everywhere?
Well the numbers tell a very different story, if anyone actually looked at the numbers.
The Washington Post assembled a team to dredge up the most accurate count possible of people killed by police officers in America in 2015. In total, they determined 990 people killed were by police officers. 494 were white (49.9%), 258 were black (26.0%), 172 were Hispanic (17.4%), 38 were “other” (3.8%) and 28 were “unknown” (2.8%).
494 whites killed by police. 258 blacks were killed by police.
258 out of nearly 43 million.
Hardly evidence of racist vigilantism.
And of those 258, 220 were armed.
Which means 38 blacks were unarmed. But let’s look closer at the unarmed blacks.
Out of 38, 19 were categorized as “Attack in Progress,” meaning that while the suspect may not have had a weapon, it wasn’t for lack of trying; he or she was in the act of physically assaulting the officer when he or she was shot. The remaining 19 were either categorized as “Other” or “Undetermined.” In all but 5 of those cases, all of those shot were either fleeing arrest, were acting erratically, or were categorized as having a mental health issue. But at any rate, let’s assume all 38 unarmed blacks were killed under less than justifiable circumstances…
38 unarmed blacks killed by police (again, half of those were categorized as “Attack in Progress”) out of nearly 43 million African Americans in the United States is hardly an epidemic.
There have been 349 homicides in Chicago alone since January…and it’s JULY.
If that’s not a tragedy worth mobilizing over, I don’t know what is.
Don’t get me wrong, any innocent life lost is a travesty, and any police officer who uses lethal or excessive force when unwarranted should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but these statistics certainly don’t constitute evidence of the rampant police brutality the media and Black Lives Matter scream about.
Of course, there are those who will argue that in 2015 whites were estimated at 61.1% of the population and blacks at only 13.3%, meaning blacks were 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police, and that unarmed blacks were far more likely than unarmed whites to be killed by police; it stands to reason that racism is the answer.
Actually, logic would tell you that this discrepancy is better explained by the fact that proportionately speaking 1. Blacks commit a highly disproportionate percentage of violent crimes and homicides 2. Blacks are statistically more likely to kill a police officer and 3. Blacks use firearms to commit homicide at a significantly higher rate than whites:
1.In 2014, blacks were arrested for 28.3% of the violent crimes in the US and 52.2% of the homicides (the crimes that are most likely to lead to an arrest, conviction and incarceration, as well as the most likely to be accurately prosecuted and free from bias).
In 2013, according to the CDC , homicide was the leading cause of death for black males aged 15-34, peaking at 49.9% of all deaths for black males aged 20-24. Homicide was also the 4th leading cause of death for black males of any age group (9th for Hispanics and not in the top 10 for whites).
In 2008, blacks were six times more likely than whites to be the victim of a homicide, and the homicide offense rate was seven times higher for blacks than for whites. And who was killing all of these black people?
From 1980-2008, 93% of black homicide victims were killed by blacks.
2.From 2004-2013, 43% of all police officers feloniously killed were murdered by blacks (who, again, constitute 13% of the population). According to the FBI database, 51% were killed by whites, but this database doesn’t account for ethnicity, meaning it’s impossible to tell how much of this 51% were Latino; in all likelihood, the percentage of police officer feloniously killed by non-Latino whites was actually even lower.
3.As much as politicians discuss gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting by a white male, silent wars rage in black communities every day across the US. In 2015, 77% of white gun deaths were by suicide and only 19% by homicide. In stark contrast, 14% of black gun deaths were by suicide and 82% were by homicide.
But Black Lives Matter, the media, and most of America ignores these facts.
We ignore the fact that a cop is more likely to be shot and killed in the line of duty than a civilian of any race. In 2015, 42 police officers were shot and killed while in the line of duty—four more than the number of unarmed blacks killed by law enforcement.
We ignore the fact that while movements like Black Lives Matter may be trendy, they’re making black communities less safe as cops step back for fear of being the next Darren Wilson.
We ignore the fact that the real War on Blacks is taking place every day in places like Chicago and Baltimore, places where gang members tortured and killed 9 year old Tyshawn Lee by cutting his fingers and ears off, where three people have been killed and 37 injured, including a 16 year old black male, in a wave of shooting sprees across Chicago in the past two days.
Black Lives Matter will say these are the facts that don’t matter.
Well they do to this mixed girl.