Although only 12 percent of the nation’s police forces are black, that number doesn’t include those of us who are related to officers, have police officers as significant others or children, or count them as best friends.
I fall into this group. And those of us in that group want nothing more than to see our loved ones come home safely every night.
So when I heard that advertising agencies were planning to post billboards honoring fallen police officers, I immediately thought it would be a great idea. But, once I saw the actual billboards themselves, with the words “Blue Lives Matter” printed boldly across the billboard, I instantly felt sick to my stomach.
It is beyond incredible that folks can be so damn against the idea of unarmed African-Americans not being extrajudicially murdered. Somehow, these same people feel that a movement aimed at highlighting police killings of black citizens and empowering our country to address it needs to be discredited.
Specifically using the words “Blue Lives Matter” as a counterpoint to “Black Lives Matter,” the ridiculous and anti-intellectual creators of this campaign have firmly decided that propagating their white supremacy will be best masked under the guise of mourning men and women who died in the line of duty.
As someone who loves his police officer friend and who also believes that black people shouldn’t be killed in the streets for frivolous reasons, I’m beyond pissed at idiots who aim to conflate these two concepts as dueling ideologies.
If you think this is anything other than a pointed anti-black campaign, you’re simply not paying enough attention to what’s going on.
Black Lives Matter and its accompanying hashtag was born out of the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman was acquitted in Trayvon Martin’s killing. Martin was 17 years old and unarmed when he he was killed.
Another young, black life was extinguished in America, and the country kept chugging along without pause, because the eradication of a black life as being automatically justifiable is legacy and tradition in the United States.
Opal Tometi, Patrise Cullors and Alicia Garza formed Black Lives Matter for this very reason.
While the movement’s global popularity soared in the wake of Michael Brown’s execution in 2014, there have been a multitude of anti-Black movements that are aimed at discrediting African-Americans’ fight for their lives.
#AllLivesMatter, a hashtag that never existed before black people actively declared agency over the preciousness of their bodies, popped up to redirect the conversation away from the brutalization of black bodies at the hands of police officers, security guards and vigilantes.
And now, #BlueLivesMatter has taken the baton of distraction and decided to run with it head on to fight against an imaginary war on cops.
A recent poll suggests that 58 percent of people believe a war on cops exists. This fear is what is now driving city officials in Minnesota to go so far as to get violence against cops labeled hate crimes.
Yet through all of this fear mongering, false equivocation, and counterfeit memorializing, lies the truth that we’re living in an age where police have never been safer. We’re on pace to have 35 police officers murdered this year — and well over 1,000 people killed by police.
That’s not a war — that’s a slaughter.
As a black man, I believe that the lives of law enforcement agents aren’t simply expendable, because I realize all life is precious. I would never want to see a war on police, because I want my boy to make it home to his family, and I wouldn’t want anything to threaten that.
With that said, it’s also important that my boy’s life is not at risk when he’s not in his uniform, and he’s walking around covered in nothing more than the hoodies he loves wearing and the melanin God gave him.
If you believe his life truly matters, then I demand that you advocate for him in and outside of his blue uniform. And if you can’t do that simultaneously, your racist bullshit does not deserve to be plastered on any billboard anywhere.