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When we say #BlackLifeMatters, please don’t butt in with your blind privilege.

Elon James White‏@elonjames

If I say #BlackLifeMatters and your response is “Why not EVERY life?” Unfollow me. You dont get it & I dont have time to explain it to you.”

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I came across the tweet above and i had to say, “Well said, Elon James White, well said“. Unfortunately this kind of tweets always get some of my white friends on facebook in a twist. What is so unfortunate is that some of them think they are well meaning people who want equal rights for all. If only they would take a minute to do their research and understand how the society they live in works. Everyone should learn to see their own privilege, be it skin colour, sexual identity, sex birth, geographical location, religion or class.

To be blind to your privilege is to not understand or see how you benefit from the society due to your status, a status you might not be conscious of but which is enough to deny the persons who don’t have that status the benefits you get. Heck, it might even cause the persons their lives while you go around not even acknowledging that you have that privilege. Yes, it is frustrating.

A few of my very good white friends on social media think this is sad and they don’t like it when I put up such status calling out white privilege.  What I must say again is that to me and most persons of colour, this is not only sad it is infuriatingly sad and makes us very angry. I am so tired of hearing privileged people whine about how we should include everyone in our minority rights campaigns.

When we talk about women’s rights, be sure a man would jump in and scream “What about men’s rights?”

When we talk about LGBT rights, a heterosexual person is bound to jump in and ask “What about heterosexual rights, we need heterosexual pride day!”

When we organise and mobilise for Black History Month, many white people jump in and whine “But there is no European History Month, we need white people’s history month!

Please, all these meaningless, brainless, blind privileged interruptions do get tiring!

Every day is men’s day.WhiteTears

Every day is heterosexual day.

Every damn month is white people’s month.

If those complaining do not understand why attention needs to be drawn to minority, underprivileged, under-represented groups, they should do their research.

If white people truly want to understand, they should make time out to use Google and find the many materials online that are available for free on these subject matters.

If with the abundance of evidence available on how police officers are more likely to stop and frisk a black person than a white person, how a black person is likely to be shot on mere suspicion than a white person or how a black teenager is likely to be arrested on suspicion of shoplifting before the security even consider suspecting the white teenagers in the shop, but my white friends are still butting in with “What about..” then my white friends should go do their research!

I can’t always be in the mood to keep explaining this over and over again. And in the light of all that is going on in #Ferguson and what happened to Trayvon Martin, and many other victims of racial profiling and white supremacy, I do not owe my privileged friends an education, they owe themselves and the society an education.

It is a sad world where your skin colour determines whether you get arrested alive, unharmed and escorted by the police after you shot innocent people or get police bullets rammed into you and your body taken away in a bin bag on mere suspicion that you could be a threat even though you were not carrying any weapon. My skin colour should not be a death sentence!

Black life matters.

Women rights matter.

LGBTI rights matter.

Black LGBTIs’ voices matter.

Bisexual Voices matter.

Transsexual voices matter.

Black feminists’ voices matter.

Atheists’ voices matter.

Black atheists’ voices matter.

Women Atheists’ voices matter.

Mental health patients’ voices matter

And the list goes on and on.

Yes Human life matters. However you have to see us as humans and equals before you can truly appreciate that our life and voices matter.  Unfortunately, in this 21st century many of us are still fighting for the inalienable human right to be seen and considered as humans and equals.

Please don’t butt in when we try to assert this much talked about but elusive, inalienable human right.

Don’t drown our voices with your constant whining of “but what about…”

Don’t be blind to your privilege.

Related link- 

Reverse Racism and ‘Black on Black’ Racism are Nothing But Myths

Comments

  1. Jim Wolbrink says

    In 2014 we are blessed with two crystal clear compare-and-contrast media examples of this. For those who are still yeah-butting, go find all the media coverage that you can reasonably find on Cliven Bundy in Nevada and his run-in with Federal Agents. Include internet message boards; go plow your way through, say, a hundred comments or so. Also include alternative media and websites of a variety of biases. Include things that your friends/acquaintances/co-workers/people-you-run-into may have said or are still saying.

    Now do the exact same thing for Ferguson, Missouri. Put the Bundy info in a pile on your right (literally or figuratively) and put the Ferguson pile on your left. Go through and highlight similarities/differences. Check yourself: do you find yourself sympathizing with protestors? Equally, or only in one situation? Angry at government? Equally in both? Or just in one?

    Don’t self censure. It’s ok to find out you have privileges and biases. I know I certainly did, and still do. The important thing is to know that they are there. Only when you recognize that they are there can you proceed with learning about how the world works and being an ally with those who are trying to make it better.

  2. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    People like to think the status quo is neutral. Hint for all of you “what about the…” types: it’s not.

  3. Funny Diva says

    Preach it, Sister Yemisi.

    I’m sorry, though, that you’re having to do so _again_. And I thank you for taking the time to address this for the umpteenth time.

    I was about to preach it myself, at “all us all white people” who still don’t get it, but then I realized, I don’t comment here very often. You and your commenters don’t actually know me, and I don’t actually want to barge into your space and indulge my tendency to ‘splain things--even from a white person who’s starting to get it to others who still need a kick in the backside. So I saved my ‘sermon’ into a word file, but won’t put it here unless invited to share it.

  4. smrnda says

    There is a reason why our society needs to say Black life matters, it’s because it clearly usually doesn’t.

    I also agree that Cliven Bundy is a good example -- white people can point guns at law enforcement, and law enforcement backs off. Law enforcement points guns at unarmed Black people, even when they are ‘protesting’ in their own lawns.

  5. Meggamat says

    @Jim Wolbrink- But that belief requires people to accept that the systems of civilization are imperfect, or that societies might fail to live up to their own ideals. Whilst this is sometimes true, I find that counter-culture or subversiveness has almost been fetishised by the left wing. Popular ideas are rejected not because they are flawed, but because they are popular. A rejection of the status quo based purely on the fact that it is the status quo is not a political ideology, it is merely contrarianism taken to a political scale. This is the essence of critical theory, the idea that attacking society and social values aught to be an end in and of itself. The difference between “all lives matter/white lives matter” and “black lives matter” is that the latter is controversial and runs counter to what is often thought be the people in control, and for that reason alone leftists like it. This is not to say that the sentiment is untrue or should not be said, as many establishments are flawed, but it cannot be ignored that many people see criticism of establishments as a virtue in and of itself.

  6. Meggamat says

    Whoops, not jim Wolbrink, that comment was meant for Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm. Sorry!

  7. Meggamat says

    Just to clarify, that doesn’t mean i don’t agree. The american police seem to have a real problem when it comes to treating the marginalized as though they are worthy of consideration.

  8. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Meggamat:

    Do you have some reason to think that anyone here sees criticism of the establishment as an end in itself or are you just rhetorically masturbating?

  9. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Funny Diva-Thanks and you are welcome to share your ‘splaining’ file. Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that we need as many voices as possible to make these privileged “But what about..,”persons get it. Explaining this over and over again to my white friends is truly tiring.

    It would be great to have materials from white people who get it because as it is, some of my otherwise good white friends on social media who don’t get it just think i am being emotional because ‘my skin colour”! My position to them right now is, “If you don’t get it by now, i won’t waste time explaining it to you, do your research and hey feel free to unfriend me if calling white people out on their privilege offends you.” Do feel free to share your word file. :)

  10. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Meggamat-

    I find that counter-culture or subversiveness has almost been fetishised by the left wing. Popular ideas are rejected not because they are flawed, but because they are popular….

    I am a Left, who is an active member of socialist groups in Nigeria and UK and nothing in your comment no 6 holds true for me as a Leftist or the left socialist groups i identify with.

  11. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Ah, so you’re just wanking. Would have been simpler just to say so, bee tee dubs.

  12. Meggamat says

    Can an one not bask in one’s own intellectual grandeur without being accused of “wanking”? We live in a cynical age, where the merest pride in the mind of the self is dismissed as something crude and vile.

  13. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I’m sorry you think wanking is crude and vile. I only meant that you brought up the whole business of opposing the status quo for it’s own sake for purely self serving reasons and not to engage with what anyone here actually said. About which you just proved me right.

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