To the extent that any lives matter, black lives DO
matter. White people (or anyone else alarmed by this statement) must understand
that it is made in historical context, a history that they may not want to
acknowledge. Just because many whites take their 'matter' for granted, doesn't
mean everyone can or dares to.
For those who do not think equality is important, I have no comments here. But equality has multiple departments. Equal numbers of wrongful deaths at the hands of police is merely one.
Many systems under which blacks in amerika live, were designed by a homogenous group of white men. Blacks are to decide whether these systems work for them, not whites. Many blacks may find some systems reasonable and others not so. I assume that shooting unarmed black people is not a system that works for black people, and I would propose that it wouldn't be acceptable to whites should this happen to them proportionately, and further, some of us white men do not find it acceptable that police shoot unarmed black men either.
What are the indiscretions made by blacks that lead to alarm for whites, alarms such that police forces are alerted with concern? Are there really more hazardous or belligerent behavior patterns mounted by blacks than any other races? Apparently, one unarmed black man killed by police, gave up on a pestering cop, put his hands in the air, and walked away to fix his distressed vehicle, and was then shot walking away. If there had been no cop, what would've happened? The man would've: 1) fixed a flat and gone home 2) called a friend to pick him up and go bitch into some beers 3) walked down the road to ask someone for help 4) helped himself to a spare tire from someone's car 5) threatened someone until they surrendered their wallet so he could take a cab 6) gone on a furious rampage stealing cars or burning down the auto dealership he bought his car from? What scenario is likely?
Equality also involves economic dynamics that are also wrapped up in history. Some seem to think that black people can transcend historical injustice by working hard, being 'smart,' jumping through all the white-designed hoops just like a white person would (as if this is formulaic and truly available to blacks or anyone else) and then would be equally likely not to get a flat tire. To me this is simplistic white wishful thinking. Sure, many whites may want to say: "I am not oppressing any black person. If my ancestors had anything to do with this, I apologize for them, but I don't condone it and I find slavery or Jim Crow abhorrent. Let's all just start fresh now, everyone of any shade can live wherever, work wherever, go to college wherever; it's all open and available to everyone now." The problem is that this is either blatantly untrue or not a tuned description of the possibilities for blacks in amerika. It's not that black people cannot succeed in amerika, but it's not particularly helpful, this rather neglectful, bleeding white heart or marginally sincere 'authorization.'
If one is capable of understanding the purpose of affirmative action, some sort of possibly useful compensation to the historically oppressed, I do see that a tipping point is rather hard to nail in time. At what point do we conclude that this compensation is complete? Never? When black people say it is? When 51% of a random survey of all races say it is? Can we tell when an obstacle is just there in life, or that the act of someone or that of their ancestor 'sort of helped' put an obstacle before a black person's step? In the study of human behavior, I often return to the problem of the allocation of resources, how much is enough, and what resources (and thereby opportunities) represent a reasonable basis on which to live a 'decent' human life.
White people would do well to admit that the idea of 'reparations' or equilibrium of opportunity is nothing to them if not fear of destitution, a submission to minority status in numbers but mostly in economic dominance. Here we are back to the tell-all tragic vision of human behavior common really to amerikan social liberals as well as conservative whites: 'We are to be overrun by masses of latinos and blacks and foreigners in general, whose style is somehow 'noisier,' and whose ambition be as hearty as our own such that whatever is available in power structures will be taken, every parcel, and they will favor their own and relegate us to second tier status.' In other words, 'the tables will turn.' If we were to really affect equality, whites self-destruct, so better to continue to concentrate our wealth, milk the resources we can continue to grab for ourselves, throw some bones on the small fires that emerge, band-aid over the occasional wrongful death shooting with slush-fund monies and nice words of condolence and commiseration, try to paddle on hoping that no one notices us buying 'real estate,' running for public office, hiring more private security, etc.
As unarmed men fooling with our crappy cars, we all can die if we get shot. I suppose equality would dictate that cops create a quota for black and white traffic stops or assume that both black & white men either are, or are not going to our glove boxes to get weapons. As I understand it, many white men own weapons, carry them in glove boxes. If such boxes are not checked during driving while white, I suppose it's difficult to know how the figures would fall. But how long do we have to contend with the assumption that a black man is on his way to rob a liquor store while the white is prepared to 'defend' himself, his family or his 'freedom?'