Malcolm X once famously said, “As ye sow, ye shall reap.” This was taken from the Kings James Bible and means that you will be treated as you treat others. Today, nowhere is this more plainly seen, right now, than in Ferguson, Missouri. In the year since the killing of Michael Brown, we have seen the political responses come forth. And there are two sides in equal opposition to each other.
On one side, #BlackLivesMatter. Here is where subjective interpretation comes in. On one side, there is objection from the African American community that police are killing blacks unnecessarily. For most people, it means that black lives are no less important than white lives. The vast majority of people – including whites – agree.
Nevertheless, some people more radicalized have taken this a step further and used this as a justification for meaning that white lives (or more specifically cop lives) don’t matter. In response to this, some of the more radical on the other side have responded with #AllLivesMatter or even #CopLivesMatter.
So here is the conflict. #BlackLivesMatter is brief and presents to subjective interpretation. #AllLivesMatter was a response to the subjective interpretation that #BlackLivesMatter ignored others. But make no mistake, #AllLivesMatter is being wielded as a self-serving weapon in a sanctimonious effort to appear inclusive while dividing.
There were feelings at issue that were summed up in one hashtage. When someone says, “I matter” it makes little sense to try to knock that person down by saying, “So do I.” Why is it necessary to respond with anything other than to let that person know that he is heard? Because there is ego at work.
We are seeing that the forces of conflict are going against each other. It’s becoming a societal yelling match. With the internet, it is also easier to find like-minded people to provide instant validation of the feelings from someone. Rather than letting the emotions boil off, think about it a bit, and move on.
How could it be avoided? First, start by assuming that #BlackLivesMatter means it. It doesn’t say #NonBlackLivesDon’tMatter. Don’t assume something else is being said. Just take it at face value.