Black Lives Matter And Idle No More: A Word To The Wilfully Ignorant
On initial inspection, I once believed that had the #BlackLivesMatter Movement added a simple "Too" to their slogan, it might have cleared a few things up. But when you're exercising cognitive dissonance and it's not socially acceptable anymore to be openly racist, you have to speak in coded language.
Now, before you turn this into a left/right issue, exercising your Beavis and Butthead Reflex, that's not what this is about. The video clip above is merely an example. Hillary Clinton was once a Republican and then became a Democrat when it was politically expedient to switch sides, so this isn't some partisan rant. It's an example of how some people, rather than just coming out with direct racial language, speak in code. They don't use slurs anymore. Fox News during the Obama Administration were famous for their use of the term "thugs." Growing up in a far-right, evangelical conservative household, I'm bilingual. I'm fluent in Bullshit and can translate it into English.
Here's a tip for those people who are instantly offended by the mere mention of black people "mattering": If black people mattered in America, the slogan wouldn't be necessary. It's the fact that even in 2022, unless you're white like me, you still face disadvantages that I don't, even as a disabled person.
Language matters. When someone uses the term "white privilege," what they really mean is "white advantage." It's not privilege. Privilege is associated with unearned wealth and power. If you come from poor white trash and live in a trailer park in Mississippi, you probably have good reason to be upset when someone tells you to "check your white privilege." What privilege? You're not rich.
So what still exists today in the western world to some degree is white advantage. If you're driving a nice car slowly through a nice neighbourhood while white, chances are people won't look twice at you. But any black or brown person will tell you that their experience is quite different.
Here in Canada, our disadvantaged people are typically Indigenous or First Nations. They're often the targets of law enforcement malfeasance and malpractice.
In 2007, the heinous crimes of a Canadian pig farmer named Robert Pickton and the slow response by police in investigating, arresting and charging him led to the Idle No More Movement, designed to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women in British Columbia, Canada specifically. Eventually, this led to greater awareness of what First Nations children went through under the Residential School System, where kids were abused, intentionally given incurable, deadly diseases and buried in unmarked graves.
So whether they're saying Indigenous Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter or Idle No More, the reason those slogans are necessary should be fairly obvious: It's because those people have been excluded from mainstream society, persecuted and treated like their lives DON'T matter.
When people respond with "ALL Lives Matter," I say, prove it. Because that would definitely be a first. The point is that in western society, some lives have historically and to this day mattered more than others and it's not about white privilege. It's about white advantage. And it's rich when the same people who were engaging in active discrimination and holding non-white people back for centuries are the same ones saying that now, suddenly, want a meritocracy. Your timing is very curious.