A Simple Illustration

My family and friends can attest to my easy going ways.  I love cake and chicken, and can sleep through an earthquake and a hurricane storm.  I even say ‘call me maybe’ when I agree to have a phone conversation with a loved one.  

There is however a thick cloud overcast, which has left me restless over the last 7- 10 days, one which has been hanging over the earth long before any of us graced this planet.

I could speak on my encounters with racism and injustice, but I am a man of faith, and I while I forgive those came up against me and laugh at the system they fight to prop up, I know that you can’t bend the fabric of reality and justice, and expect it not to violently snap back. Simply put, everyone’s got what’s coming to them, and if you don’t believe that, you haven’t experienced much of life.

There is ONE thing that baffles me, and that is when I hear the phrase “All Lives Matter”.  I have to admit, that’s a head-scratcher.  The first time I came across this phrase was in an article about Facebook employees who were countering the phrase “Black Lives Matter” with the adjacent, pseudo-insightful phrase “All Lives Matter”.  At Facebook h.q.,  there have a wall where staff write down their ideas and thoughts. These were engineers, I assume, of the highest intellectual caliber, yet, for all their intellect, failed (deliberate or not) to grasp the basic idea of behind the “Black Lives Matter” mantra, and immediately set out (again, deliberate or not) to undermine what any one with fundamental decency would deem a pivotal civil right issue.

So here’s my illustration:

Imagine a black person, with seemingly no name, being beaten up by a white police officer, a white banker, a white politician, a white HR manager, a white housing agent, a white lady walking her dog.  That shouldn’t be too hard to imagine, unfortunately…

Now imagine, you, a white person walking by and hearing that black person under assault screaming, “Black Lives Matter”, and you respond, “All Lives Matter”, before you continue on your way.

First thing to note, that black person being assaulted is not nameless. That person is an embodiment of everyone who is black, because we know fully well, that that could be anyone of us. Second thing to note:  If, to you, responding “All Lives Matter” does not seem like an incredibly ridiculous thing to retort, then I think we have a problem, not just of endemic systemic racism and bias, but also of self imposed confusion and depravity. Confusion, depravity? Strong words, I know, but think about it.

Black Lives Matter is a symbolic, condensed statement, like E  = mc2.  If you unpack that phrase,  IF you choose to unpack that phrase, and not analyse it simplistically,  you will uncover a whole new world of complexity, meaning and understanding.  

Black people have been systematically oppressed for centuries, physically and mentally, and therefore, do not feel like, in the eyes of world, that our lives matter. Of course All Lives Matter, that’s how it should be, but if we don’t acknowledge the sins of our past, both as a collective and as individuals and choose instead to to sweep them under the carpet with a blanket and insidious brush of the hand, then we are doomed to repeat this cycle of events again and again.

So next time the phrase “Black Lives Matter”comes across your phone screen, or is yelled in your ear by a protestor, reflect deeply on its significance and not your irritation at hearing it over and over again. 

God speed, stay safe everyone, the pandemic is on going and unlike human beings, does not discriminate. 

By: Tola Makanjuola

Leave a Reply

Theme: Overlay by Kaira 
Our refund and returns policy lasts 30 days. See Our Terms and Conditions in the checkout section for more details
%d bloggers like this: