In an interview, cialis the award – winning playwright Lorraine Hansberry defended her singular focus on Black people and the lives they live by stating, stuff “… in order to create the universal, link you must pay very close attention to the specific.” Her plays and stories did not argue for all of humanity, or that #AllLivesMatter, because she considered that to be an obvious supposition. Her work was deeply steeped in social responsibility, critical analysis, and the specific issues surrounding equity and justice for Black people. Rather than speak broadly about ALL of humanity she chose to be intensely individual and specific, drawing her characters and stories from within the Black community, which never detracted from her sensitivity to the will and aspirations of all people. The intense and intimate focus on one part of the greater human race was what brought illumination to all of humanity.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has brought a type of renewed attention and much needed scrutiny to the historic legacy of institutional racism, social injustice, and economic disparity in a nation that continues to be plagued by the contradiction of what it defines itself as, “…one nation, under God—indivisible with liberty and justice for all”, and what it continues to demonstrate itself to be. The #BlackLivesMatter movement and other national organizations, activists and community organizers have been laser-focused on the criminal justice system, law enforcement, abuse of power, use of deadly force, and the over-policing of communities of color.
Since the beginning of 2015, police officers have killed at least 1 person every 8 hours sending on average 3 people per day to early graves, with 176 civilians killed so far this year. The uproar over the growing number of unarmed black men shot dead by police officers in recent months has put the public spotlight on a much bigger trend in the U.S. Not only are black people incarcerated at much higher percentages than whites, they are also more likely to receive much harsher penalties and sentencing for misdemeanor and non-violent crime. More insidious and disturbing is the indisputable fact that police officers are much more likely to shoot and kill black people than any other race. It should be noted that in 2015, thus far, of the 37 deaths of police officers killed in the line of duty, criminal perpetrators or alleged criminal perpetrators shot none.
Given the well-documented aforementioned facts, why is it that some well-meaning people must diminish the critical nature of these injustices and the loss of life in epidemic proportion with the need to remind us that #ALLLivesMatter? Clearly, the huge problem that we have right now is that some lives matter more than others and it is those “other” lives that we need to focus our energies on at this time. To make the focus of our protest on Black Lives and the #BlackLivesMatter movement is not a disregard of other people’s lives and it does not deny the sanctity of any life. If young white boys and men were being shot down in the streets in epidemic proportion, if they were being incarcerated disproportionally, over-charged and over-sentenced, even to life in prison for misdemeanor offenses, I dare say, it would be those lives on which all focus, energy, resources and attention would land. If it were white lives…. we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. That’s why the specificity of our struggle is focused, and we will not be turned around until #Black Lives DO Matter. In order to be universal…you must (FIRST) pay very close attention to the specific.
Up Next Week: Separation of Church & State