Black Lives Won’t Matter, Until Black Life Matters
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986
Bias is a disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief system.
The point behind this article comes in the form of many questions. The title alone is a mouth full. No matter if a White mouth or a Black-mouth utters Black Lives Matter, there’s a question that should be proposed, If Black Lives do Matter, then why doesn’t Black Life Matter?
Historically, Black Life was perceived as Criminal and that’s an understatement. But why isn’t this considered, or worth intellectual thought? I started with the definition of bias because it is the biases that impede Black life from being valued in society. For Black Americans, the American dream comes with a badge of bravery and a warning that reads “Use at your own risk”.
The American definitions of peace, comfort, high living standards, opportunities, benefits, and of course privilege; crisp White America, unfortunately, think Black Life is naturally in opposition to all of those. It doesn’t dawn on White America that Black Lives financed the original concept and maybe, just maybe, has versions of their own.
There are many more questions that come to mind; like what purpose does it serve in incriminating Black LIFE in the first place? In a country that places collective (Class) power status above individual powers, rights, or liberties, then if Black Life as a collective were a collective that mattered, we would not need to say, Black Lives Matter. White Life Matters, Period! White Americans don’t need to turn the word from “LIFE” to “Lives” because the word “LIFE” covers their Lives, automatically. It goes without saying!…
The point here is that “White Life” is completely in a protected vacuum and cannot be tainted. White culture or “White Life” (the collective class) cannot be tainted or tarnished by “White lives” as individuals. No matter what damage a white individual causes…a white individual can’t, I repeat, cannot stain “White Life!” Ever!
This brings me to the overall point of this article; I recently watched our city government announce the “No Shots Fired” program. Strangely, nothing was different than before, but this time it hit me differently and I was disturbed.
Within San Diego County with its flux of Hispanic immigrants along with the growth of the Latino population in this country, one would think the optics of crime would have shifted. The American crime stigma should no longer carry the face of Black Lives.
The per capita math is used to justify police policy; so here’s a FactCheck perspective view here: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-fact-check-bar-graph-black-white-homi/fact-check-misleading-bar-graph-presents-distorted-interpretation-of-black-and-white-murder-rates-idUSKBN23M2SX
With the above intro in mind, African/Black American intellectuals and politicians need to rethink its solution bedfellows. Black leaders, who constantly use the “Black & Brown” phrase; for the sake of the community, should stop to ask what is this really about? Do they stop to study the implications of how “class” power works. We must ask ourselves how Hispanics and or Latino “Brownness” will affect the historical stain and biases toward “Black Life”; my guess it will be harmful to Black Lives.
I was engaged in a conversation with one stakeholder of the “No Shots Fired” program and I asked him why was their press conference held in the “southeast” historical Black community? Without getting too detailed he of course defended the location. As I watched one of the many news reports, they span the camera for a wider shot of a park in the southeast community. They go on to mention, a recent shooting that happened there. Is it me or didn’t any other shootings happen in the city that day? I feel public servants don’t realize how the press machine works or do they even care? If you were to “Follow the Money” on Black life criminality it leads to a “Payoff”, the question then becomes why is it so profitable to tell stories this way? Why does it elude Black civic leaders to see why it’s important to pay attention to How and What things look like? The funding of programs that taint “Black Life” is how White America throws gasoline on the “Black Life” fire. Fires that continue to burn with fuel that solidify biases like “Black People are to be Watched and Controlled” this of course continues to ambush and haze our future generations, thus securing the clean “White Life” myth.
Can Black civic leaders, Black program developers find another way to make money? Is there another way that doesn’t give energy and further soil our Black futures?
Here’s the thing Black San Diego
As a 54-year-old Black woman, who makes the bulk of her living with gifts from both patriarchal and matriarchal predecessors who I may add, financed my inheritance via sharecropping, cotton picking, and bootlegging, I am compelled to prepare the greatest generation that lives on this planet today (our youth) with the best set of circumstances and at the very least Truth.
As a publisher, I can no longer accept the subliminal marketing tactics that lead to the “Make America Great Again” politics. It covertly stains Black Life! These so-called helpful programs and initiatives still carry stereotypical gasoline. We must dig deeper and examine community politics and community helper’s motives. I will continue to question their commitment by asking so-called change agents to ask themselves was it worth it? I can’t express enough how damaging 20th-century criminal acoustics and optics are to Black Lives living black life today!
When I am in the presence of young people who want to become social activists, social entrepreneurs, or journalists, they ask me “why change agents of yesterday failed to create new futuristic perceptions in place of old corrective criminal messaging?” “Why haven’t they considered an alternative reality, one that could have rendered safety; a safer country to live a Black life and to live life while black, safely?”
Simply said, Black Lives Will Never Matter Until Black Life Matters!
Black change agents must re-examine not just the function of their programs, initiative, and lobbying but propose the question, do the program’s optics and acoustics fan the flames of historic criminality? How will it support and soothe white comfort in exchange? Are we maintaining marketing that increases endangerment, insensitivity, and unnecessary police encounters?
Our beautiful young Black men and woman deserve a tarnish-proof American dream opportunity as the ultimate promissory note in lieu of their fore parent’s forty acres and the mule rubbish. I want marketing that commiserates with our ancestral contributions. If Black folk are the soul of America, then why wouldn’t our souls in this country be free of verbiage and rhetoric that leads to bias and endangerment. Our ancestors paid an incredible price for our souls to be here, and our value should NEVER trade below the exchange rate of other immigrant collectives for the sake of others’ comfort.
To me, reparations begin with the Re-branding, Disruption, and Re-packaging of what Black Life means in the Americas.
I recently saw a change agent’s Instagram post of the “No Shots Fired” crime-based program, he’s in a t-shirt motif with a Black hand on a gun with a red circle through it. It’s not that gang crime everywhere isn’t real but what needs to start becoming more important than the program itself; is the program’s messaging. We need to start confronting century-long social messaging like “Black on Black Crime” in a way that doesn’t stain every black person and subjugates us to disproportionate and inappropriate negative attention. This is about our future as Black people. If we refuse to understand the criminal price tag and how we’re presented within the eyes of White Life and White Comfort we are just being transactional, while “Black Life” continues to pay dividends due to a narrative being systematically harmful to Black lives.
When a country needs to have Black people (or any class or race of people) as poster-child symbols and makes them become the epitome of that symbol, for policymaking, political campaigning, or political purposes in general, this sentences us to “Criminality” forever without sharing and distributing the American nightmare equitably. Again, Black Lives living today, should not finance others’ comfort. For Black Lives to matter, our Black change agents must require that our images are no longer the epicenter of what crime looks like in America.
Here’s another great question, Where did the notion come from that young Black males are “Prone” to violence and criminal behavior? The word “Prone” is not by accident! Can it be, that we too as Black publishers are endangering our youth by printing news that fans the flames of criminality? Is it by exalting these notions, by allowing “White Life” to dictate what safer streets look like is the problem? A black-mouth or a white-mouth “Talking Tough” on crime has never led to Black America being free from the Criminality reputation. If parts of the police budget fund programs that increase the “Chances” of more terror, unearned attention, and experiences from Police; well isn’t that an oxymoron? Historical evidence has shown these experiences to be unconstitutional and unlawful.
I hope that Black Life becomes important to all of us. But above all this, the African American median age is 27, most young Black males have never and will never see a gun. Interestingly enough, most black men have never been arrested. What is so uncomfortable to white America knowing that more Black Lives live like White Lives? Black lives are involved in great things just like their other American racial counterparts.
The life and breath within our beautiful young people are precious assets to our culture and collective, they deserve to be unimpeded and certainly not grand-fathered into 19th and 20th-century marketing messages. There needs to be a disruption in marketing messages, developed by African American firms that could reverse the “Real Crime here and that’s unearned government-sanctioned defamation of “incrimination” by association.” AA firms could create progressive marketing for civic, and economic programming that doesn’t wreak “Correction” or “Quality Control” connotations.
To keep nailing shut a door that was never intended to open, is the moral of this article. I was never told as a child I had to work twice as hard for a fraction of the US Dollar. In other words, White life’s beneficiaries have no right to define, reduce, subtract, or divide our children’s energy, and value rate. Bad media sets up a negative “Black Life” notion that community helpers just take for granted. Stereotypes are designed to function by limiting access by division, subtraction, reducing without due process. And finally, what makes people sick and tired of being sick and tired, is all the hidden pretense of programs we don’t see coming…like the thousand words of bad pictures or video backgrounds, recycled slave messages in the form of commercials, movies, propaganda, cartoons, and religious rhetoric… you name it. In the scheme of things how ridiculous is a Black hand on a gun as the poster child symbolism for crime in America?
So here are my suggestions for the Black press to start disrupting the psyche of Americans to what crime also looks like in America.
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986