Martin vs. Malcolm

Theoretical Perspectives on Why Black Lives Stopped Mattering In America

We can all agree that when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the American people were delusional with the idea that race relations in America had shifted from the horns of Bull Connor and stronghold of Jim Crow, and that segregation and racism were finally a thing of the past. To understand why race relations are still a struggle in America is like trying to comprehend how surgeries were once done with no anesthesia.

Being a person of color in the Land of the Beautiful has had the harsh reality of being not so beautiful.

Individuals who have never been enslaved, profiled or treated differently based on nothing more than the melanin in their skin complain, seeming to believe that Blacks continue to bring up the past, slavery and race-related issues as excuses and constant complaints. This reality and stronghold continue to grasp and cripple Blacks mentally, while emotionally enslaving the spirit of hope and freedom no longer brought forth through state governors, but through political systems that continue to facilitate illicit power through economic depression, mass incarceration, lack of welfare reform and poor, unfair housing.

Lately, the emergence of Black lives mattering has been seen as a radical movement by violent aggressors. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are perceived as disruptors of a peaceful country with guns and violence. It’s the same pattern of misunderstanding that was created by seeing radical violence when Malcolm X urged “Grab your gun and run him out,” and the Black Panther Party promoted its free breakfast program. However, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also seen as radical by enticing violence through peaceful protest.

The dream that many had on that monumental day in Washington, Aug. 28, 1963, was proven by legislation to have died when King died. However, that was the day the Black Lives Matter movement began. The falsified infrastructure of Jim Crow was replaced with mass incarceration of minorities. Schools were integrated, yet policies like “separate but equal” were embellished to economically continue segregation as gerrymandering tactics took the place of legally segregating individuals. The constant imagery of young men and women being brutally beaten and shot to death by law enforcement officials is seen as a political ploy to entice violence. The truth is that race relations in America have been covered with a Band-Aid, which has been a temporary solution because that infection is overflowing like an outbreak of American Ebola.

Black Lives Matter when politicians need votes and attend Black worship services to ensure that those votes are secured. However, Black lives mattering is not a radical movement. But in a sense, it provides the same undertone as underpaid workers saying “I too am a man,” or the bra-burning symbolism of the women’s rights movement. It’s a testament that questions: Do I matter, will I ever matter, and why don’t I matter?

I’m not proposing that one understand the theoretical framework behind the Black Lives Matter movement. What I do propose is the day that no one’s Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights are violated because of race, gender, sexuality, religion, or culture. That will be the day when we no longer have to question the existence of Black Lives Matter.

Food for thought…keeping it real.



Kamara Taylor

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