By the words of the media, the condition of our communities (the number of murders in Chiraq over the July 4th weekend, 82+ for example) & the narratives woven post a police brutality murder is that black lives matter conditionally. The cold hard reality is this: sometimes black lives matter, a lot of times they don’t. Black & brown bodies are being lost in a myriad of ways.
When we discuss “black-on-black crime,” the numbers of folks being gunned down & then mass produced for Fox news consumption, the truth is very few people care about those numbers because they are perceived to be thugs, drug dealers & gang banger deaths. The truth is “white-on-white crime” (if such a thing were to be named) is only infinitesimally higher percentage-wise. (Within 4 percentage points). We are not “killing each other” any faster than whites are killing themselves. Not to mention the fact that most violent crimes are intra-racial. The fact that lone gunmen who have been white men kill mostly non-white people in their mass shootings, is a good example of this.
The difference in media consumption of these white deaths fall under similar circumstances –thugs, drug dealers & gang-bangers or simply ‘mentally challenged’ whites who should be pitied. Either way, their lives and deaths aren’t paraded across the media because the white poor aka “white trash” doesn’t fit the narrative whites want to see of themselves in the media which they largely control and because black & brown bodies misfortunes, rapes, murders & deaths have been a source of pride-producing entertainment for whites for at least a hundred years.
Similarly, very little world-wide attention has been given to the recent bombings in Iraq because it is perceived as “Muslim-on-Muslim crime,” and lets face it, who cares to see that? That would require us not to “other” Muslims and to actually procure compassion in our hearts for people half a world away, in addition to understanding who ISIS is and how a terrorist group functions.
It is not true that only black lives matter circumstantially. To an extent, even little white babies lives didn’t *actually* matter when America decided to do essentially nothing after Sandy Hook. When little white girls & boys with blue eyes & blond hair -perhaps the most mattered humanity on this planet- got murdered in cold blood, we all knew a move to do nothing regarding gun reform sent a POWERFUL message: guns are more important those kids lives be damned.
Why should we then be surprised in the least that a Church full of black church congregants could be shot up? Or of course, that we will watch black & brown bodies tossed around, maimed, raped & murdered in the streets by police thugs with no justice to be had.
When I articulate that black lives matter, it’s because situations like the recent #AltonSterling & #PhilandoCastile murders remind me that we only matter on a situation-by-situation basis, but it also reminds me not to “other” others whose live also matter but whose privilege still manages to benefit them even in death.
Black lives matter in every situation. No matter the prior, no matter the background, no matter the circumstance surrounding an unfortunate end to a precious life.
May we embrace the humanity in all of us.