EDITOR’S NOTE: When staff writer LARRYBDNC wrote this piece in December 2018, we had no idea who George Floyd was or that he would die less than two years later under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, igniting protests across the country and bringing “Black Lives Matter” back into the headlines. Donald Trump and other racists are already attempting to change the narrative, but “Blue Lives Matter” is as much a racist trope today as it was then.
Reading Glenn Redus’ message to our neighbors north, south and across the seas, I was struck by one of the images illustrating the essay. Aptly described as “a moron” was a guy in the “Rope. Tree. Journalist” t-shirt holding a “Blue Lives Matter” flag. Everything about that image is antithetical to what is supposed to be the “Never-ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way.”
These hard core Trump supporters don’t want the truth that comes from factual analysis of the who, what, where, when and why of journalism. They want the “tell me how unfair the world is to me and how it is the fault of everyone who isn’t like me” propaganda. They don’t want news, they want reassurance, and part of the reassurance they desire is a sense of order in their world. That’s where their unblinking support of law enforcement comes from, for one of the most important aspects of racial politics is the promise of law and order to white America that transcends economic status.
The emphasis on law and order has led to a consistent campaign of oppression in communities of color, and when those folks push back and demand that the rights of citizenship be afforded them by the police, the inevitable response is, “Why are you mad at cops? They’re just doing their job. Why don’t you protest all the black-on-black crime in Chicago?” Ignored is the equating of criminals with the police. Crooks gonna crook, but the cops aren’t supposed to be crooks.
Justice, right? One of the oldest jokes in black standup is, “I was down at the courthouse looking for justice . . . and that’s what I found, just us!”
Blue Lives Matter is a movement to further criminalize communities of color. Started in 2014 after two police officers were murdered in New York City, the movement led to the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, passed earlier this year by an overwhelming majority in the House. The Protect and Serve Act could lead to stiffer punishment for committing violence against cops than for those who do harm to civilians. Meanwhile a Senate version of the bill would make cops a “protected class” so that any violence against them could be categorized as a hate crime.
The police are supposed to “Serve and Protect” the communities not “Contain and Control” the inhabitants of those communities, which many assume to be the real reason for the criminal justice system.
The people in these communities declare Black Lives Matter and by that declaration insist “Our lives are important, too.” Blue Lives Matter explicitly says to those folks, “No Your Lives Don’t Matter,” and sad to say, that is the American Way.