Firstly, I will start with making a few simple statements, with no qualifiers or addenda:

Racism exists within the United States today (“today” is 29 September, 2016).
Racism is bad.
Police need to be held accountable for their actions, even when those actions save lives or those actions are abuses of power.
Nothing is wrong with being angry.
I need a frickin’ beer.

These statements can be taken as is, and do not need to be understood within the context of this article. You can hold me to these statements, and I will not deny that I have made them. I hope this clarifies what I hold to be true, and that I will not be misunderstood or misrepresented.

Now with all of that said, I’ll explain why the #BlackLivesMatter movements have been bothering me for a while. This started with the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman. I admit that I knew next to nothing about that incident when it first came out. I do know that the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag started as a reaction to that incident, but because I tend to live under a rock, I knew little else.

Later, when #BlackLivesMatter became too big to ignore, I decided to look into the incident myself. A quick Internet search led me to several places where I could read up on the shooting and trial. I’ll try to summarize everything that I have learned and understand from this incident:

On 26 February, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed-race Hispanic, shot and killled Travyon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American minor. Zimmerman claimed it was self-defense. He was later charged, tried, and acquitted of second-degree murder, supporting his self-defense claims. Various public reactions voiced concerns that the shooting was racially motivated, and insinuated that either Zimmerman or the Sanford PD were racists.

Now this is where I start seeing problems. So far, Zimmerman’s self-defense claims have been made legit. Zimmerman himself has not been proven racist. However, what was originally an unfortunate self-defense incident without racial profiling has now become a media-fueled angry backlash over perceived racism. Zimmerman had received death threats to the point where he had to relocate himself. Protests have started across the nation. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag started to appear, and now it has become a rallying cry against discrimination of African-Americans.

Don’t get me wrong, the lives of Black African-American Negro citizens do matter, and should be protected under the same laws as any other citizen in our country. However, this BLM movement was based on a false premise, that Trayvon Martin was killed because he was Black, and that George Zimmerman was acquitted because he was white and had colluded with a racist police department. Did Martin deserve to be shot and killed? Hell no, but he really didn’t do himself any favors when he confronted the “creepy ass cracker” either.

Because #BlackLivesMatter was a reactionary, knee-jerk, emotional, race card-pulling response to a tragedy than had no racist origins, I was inclined to believe that these protestors were just “a bunch of stupid-ass niggas’ making a bad situation worse, and were also dragging the otherwise respectable African-American community down with them.” I was further inclined when some of these protests turned violent and actually brought harm to other, uninvolved people, regardless of epidermal phenotype.

When the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, went public, that tragedy turned into another BlackLivesMatter debacle. Again, the victim was a young Black man. In this incident, the shooting was performed by a police officer, Darren Wilson, responding to a robbery. This also started the “Hands up, don’t shoot” protests, which claimed that Michael Brown had his hands up before he was shot to death. This claim proved to be erroneous; multiple credible witnesses, including those of Black ethnicity, have stated that Brown was the aggressor in the confrontation, failed to comply with police, and even charged at Wilson, who then shot Brown in self-defense. Of course, pitchforking masses are quick to judge and slow to listen, so there were more protests, more civil unrest, and now even rioting in the streets. Again, a young Black man is shot and killed because he was doing something that he wasn’t supposed to do. And now, a bunch of stupid-ass niggas are fuckin’ things up for everyone because they don’t believe that Michael Brown was not accountable for robbery, assault, and non-compliance with a police officer. This further supports my opinion that many of these BLM protestors are just using race to excuse themselves from criminal wrongdoing.

By then, the BLM looks like it’s just been crying wolf all this time. Now if a guy like me calls bovine feces on #BlackLivesMatter,
then it’s not surprising that other people would think the same way. Unfortunately, many of these people are not proficient in critical thinking, nor are they willing to accept that racism is a bad thing. But I’ll get to them a little later.

So now when an incident such as the death of Eric Garner gets covered by the media, an incident which is not as unambiguous as the Martin and Brown deaths, divisions caused by the BlackLiveMatters protests become even more hostile, and accusations of racism and race-carding become more pronounced, regardless if racism was an actual issue or not. Over time, BLM started to lose its original focus on the shooting death of Trayvon Marvin, and became associated with any and all incidents where Black citizens would perceive injustice, legitimate or otherwise, to themselves, especially in incidents that involved clashes with the police. I won’t lie when I say that I saw the BLM movement(s) as a joke. They had no credibility when they started, and caused more problems than justice by taking retributive actions against those who did not deserve them.

Still, even a broken clock correctly tells the time twice a day. Just because BLM started out as a farce doesn’t mean that its message was any less important or true. And yes, there have been several examples of police allegedly abusing their power and disproportionately using excessive force upon Black people. Law enforcement officials are given a great deal of authority in order to combat crime. And with this authority comes responsibility and accountability. Cops shouldn’t start kicking a Black man’s ass for no reason. Those cops need to be brought to justice, if they haven’t already. And that is one of the positive and constructive messages that the BLM movement is trying to get out.

Now remember those non-critical thinking people who don’t think racism is really a bad thing? They see a bunch of stupid-ass niggas’ trying to make the whole affair about race. And to a certain extent, they are correct. The deaths of Martin and Brown were not about racial profiling, but more about really bad decision making. And because the BLM movement made it about race, these people felt obliged that they would stand by their race as well. But the problem with non-critical thinking people is that they don’t thinking critically. So when an incident like Eric Garner’s death comes up, they automatically assume that it’s the same thing, that BLM is making unjustified claims of racial profiling and discrimination, and so they will try to undermine the BLM movements again, and have their fears, rooted in racism, validated in the process.

But it’s not the same thing. In regards to Eric Garner’s death, yes, he was talking smack, but he didn’t demonstrate himself to be an immediate threat to the officers or anyone else. It’s unclear if he was participating in illicit activity, or if the law enforcement officials were looking for a convenient target. Did he die due to poor health, or did the police actually use excessive force? I’m still uncertain on the details, but this is a situation where protesting that #BlackLivesMatter could be appropriate.

But now it might be too late to actually get any real and constructive dialogue started. The dividing lines have been drawn, and people are drawing more upon emotion than upon reason. Too many people are busy posting videos or making new slogans or finding the next Black martyr-of-the-month or blaming victims for their own victimization or anything else that wouldn’t actually help solve the problem. Mind you, there are people who are legitimately trying to make things better and not making things worse. That Free Hugs Guy in Charlotte during the recent riots was trying to humanize the riot police despite resistance from Black protestors. Some protestors and counter-protestors confront each other peacefully, and even get together for a quick prayer circle. Those people should be applauded for their efforts. Unfortunately, those people seem to be few and far between. It’s much easier to rant and rave and yell out, “Burn all the babies!” than to do damage control, to put out these emotional firestorms despite getting burned in the process.

You know what, it’s probably not too late. The fact that I’m writing this implies that a dialogue can be started, that something constructive can be accomplished. But it’ll need change. And when I mean change, I mean change on all sides. We need to look at not just the “other side” but at ourselves as well. Yeah, it’ll be uncomfortable, and it’ll probably get us angry. But %$#@! it, isn’t a slightly bruised ego worth making the world a better place?

First off, communication is key. If you can’t express yourself adequately, then you can’t expect others to understand what the hell you are saying. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag carries too much baggage, and it implicitly promotes exclusiveness. How about changing it to #BlackLivesMatterToo? By adding just one word, it can dramatically change the perceived meaning. All life is precious, but lest we forget, #BlackLivesMatterToo. And not #BlackLivesMatter2; it’s not a damn sequal and we should try promoting proper language skills instead of sounding like uneducated fools.

Or, we can take the Morgan Freeman approach, and not even try to bring race into it, and use #JusticeForAll. The original intent of these protests was a demand for justice. And by saying #JusticeForAll, we are not excluding anyone, and, in fact, makes us also accountable for upholding justice. Police brutality and abuse of power are not solely issues of racism. At its core, those problems demonstrate a need for justice, a need to hold those perpetrators accountable for their actions. Hey, maybe they did bad stuff because of racism. Racism is an extension of injustice. If these racists see things in terms of justice instead of race, then maybe they too could learn that racism is a bad thing and to readjust their way of thinking. It would certainly be more encouraging than callin them “evil white cracka’-ass bitches.”

Secondly, if we want the police accountable for their actions, then we got to be accountable for our actions, too. Sure, we get angry and frustrated, and that’s fine and perfectly normal. However, we should not allow emotion to override our sense of reason. There’s that adage, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” “Turn the other cheek” is another way to put it. It worked for Gandhi and it worked for Martin Luther King Jr. If we want to be taken seriously, then we need to be serious in our actions. If a bunch of stupid-ass niggas are seen doing stupid-ass shit, racist white people will use their actions to validate their opinions on all Black Africna-American Negro people. So if you see a stupid-ass nigga about to do something stupid, then stop that fool, and tell him, “Knock that shit off!”

As for white people who don’t like racism and do think it’s a bad thing, you guys can help out too. In fact, your help may be necessary to protect the rights and dignity of minority people. I’m sure some of you have heard about “white privilege.” If you haven’t, then look it up because there are other people who can describe it in much more detail. This site (http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/08/told-white-friend-black-opinion/) is a good place as any to start. By understanding how white privilege is perceived, one can start to see the thought processes that could be running around in a minority’s head. If people are angry or upset over perceived discrimination, then allow them to be angry and upset. Don’t undermine a person’s feelings. If you can, be angry as well. If you get angry enough, then you can start to see what needs to change. And with your “white privilege,” you can help facilitate that change that would otherwise be much more difficult to achieve. But again, don’t allow emotions to cloud judgment. If you see one of your minority friends about to do something stupid, call him on it. Don’t give racists more “proof” to justify their claims. Everyone needs to look after each other so we don’t have any more of these senseless riots.

Damn, I need another beer…