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Understanding Black Lives Matter


I think white folk are getting tired of the Black Lives Matter movement given many of their responses:

• White lives matter
• Police lives matter
• All lives matter

Of course .those other lives are as important but to counter Black Lives Matter with that retort is dismissive, diminishes the importance of this new movement, and denies a part of American history that has seeped into today’s world.

• White lives have always mattered in America.
• Police lives have always mattered in America.
• Black lives have always mattered less in America.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s did much to improve the American mindset regarding the value of Black lives: voting rights, educational equality, equal employment opportunities and housing discrimination were addressed. And most noteworthy, the brutal practice of lynching ceased. Mainstream America was lulled into the belief that all is now well for Black folk. Today the focus has shifted to the longstanding, unaddressed, discriminatory behavior of the police.

Black Lives Matter calls for the end of lawlessness by law enforcement.

Police lives have always mattered. We have laws that are enforced when a police officer is mistreated by the criminal element. But the Black Lives Matter movement is highlighting a truth that has long been covered up: law enforcement officers have not only failed to protect the rights and lives of Black Americans, but they have perpetrated brutal crimes against them under the guise of self-defense, and covered their actions with outright lies. The Blue code of silence is only now coming to light with the advent of the
body cam, smart phone videos, and greater press coverage of outlaw lawmen.

Parents of Black boys have an underlying anxiety whenever their sons leave the house. They instruct their boys in self-protective behavior if detained by the police for whatever reason, just or unjust. Don’t argue. Keep both hands in plain sight. Say Sir. Most importantly, don’t run.

Only last week in the nation’s capital, Jason Goolsby. a young Black student, following the rules of his mama’s upbringing, held open the door at an ATM, allowing a White woman pushing a stroller to precede him. And how was he rewarded for his chivalry? She called the cops, who took him down forcibly. And what was the complaint? Robbery fear.

I have observed a great deal of history in my lifetime and I continue to affirm that we are steadily moving toward a more inclusive and just society. Nevertheless, there still exist hidden and unpleasant truths which, like a festering sore, must rise to the surface, be addressed, and corrected. In these instances, Black Lives Matter serves as a voice for change.

Amy Bryant



Amy Bryant

Author of You CAN Go Home Again


  1. Amy I agree with you bigotry and racism is very much alive. Black people are treated less then by law enforcement. Most have not committed any crimes So hard to believe that someone would say that an unarmed young minor (Trayvon Martin) deserved death. Your article did not throw out the baby with the bath water. Praying for equality on a higher level.

  2. I so appreciate the courage of people who fully identify themselves while participating in this important conversation that Amy has initiated.
    A great way to update ourselves: the November/December 2015 issue of Scientific American Mind,
    pages 45 to 51, has this article, “When Cops Lose Control.” There’s a preview at the website http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-cops-lose-control/ and an inexpensive way to order the issue for online reading. The article presents documented work by sociologists and organizations concerned with police training and the implicit biases that affect us humans.

  3. Tawana Brawley? Seriously? Why don’t you go ahead and bring up Jennifer Flowers , or under-desk White House activities while you’re at it Mr. Mike? Or maybe you can go on and on about Jane Fonda. News Flash, this is the Twenty-first Century and people of color are still marginalized in this country. Travon was murdered by a fine, upstanding, white man who has since been arrested for guns and domestic violence. I can’t believe you would find this insightful and non-aggressive piece so offensive. Ignorant Radicals? Look in the mirror. Have you put that Donald Trump sticker on your bumper yet?

    • Thanks, Deborah. I’m glad that you found the piece “insightful and non-aggressive,” as that was my intent.

    • Deborah, Yes seriously. Tawana Brawley was all Al Sharpton’s making, not bad cops. Maybe you would prefer OWS as an example of false narratives sponsored by G. Soros and Unions. Fostered by none other than the past DOJ head and his boss the same as Michael Brown’s death, a false narrative. No charges filed? Yes this is the 21st century and we should be making progress rather than repeating past mistakes. So, you were proud of Jane Fonda? The only marginalizing of blacks I see is from the left with free stuff and no job recovery. The least you folks could do is use an example that holds water, which is the video of a cop shooting a fleeing after being tasered black man in the back in South Carolina, which I found alarming to watch. I believe the cop was fired and charged. I agree that black man’s life matered. I’m sure he felt cornered. Where is the outrage for all the innocent black people that die every week in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, LA and almost every other large city controlled by black political activists? Do you think the 3 black cops that arrested Freddy Gray were negligent or bad cops or only the 3 non black cops? All taking place in a city run by a Democrat mayor and activist district attorney wannabe. There will always be flash points. Some just and from what we’ve seen lately many unjust and false narratives. It’s too bad you’re unable to tell or see the difference. As for Trump stickers. It all depends on if he gets the nomination. I’m sure as the devil not voting for Killary or any other Progressive control freak.

  4. Amy – it’s hard to believe that someone would call your well-phrased and well-thought out expose ‘hogwash’. Due respect? Not. I don’t have any firsthand experience with racial problems, did not grow up in this country. But even if one makes allowances for the media to exaggerate, it seems very clear to me that racism is alive and well in America, and that especially black male youth have been treated unfairly in the past and still are today. Extra thought and care should be given to this problem. Of course black lives matter, all lives matter.

  5. Amy, I appreciate the courage and insight required to write as you do in this blog. And I appreciate your saying that “there still exist hidden and unpleasant truths which, like a festering sore, must rise to the surface, be addressed, and corrected.” We need only to look at the Fugitive Slave Laws of the mid-19th century to get a sense of the relationship between law enforcement and black people, when human beings could be apprehended in the so called “free” state of Pennsylvania and by law dragged back across the borders into Maryland. Any black person was in jeopardy of being snatched as an “escaped slave.” By law, any person black or white coming to the assistance of someone so taken was in violation of the law and could face serious consequences. As recently as the 1960’s, police wielded the batons, the fire hoses, the attack dogs to enforce Jim Crow laws. Looking at our history with fresh perspective is not an effort to create guilt; it is a necessity so that we can recognize the assumptions, for better and for worse, as they have hold on us today and affect the orientation of men and women in our policing services.

  6. With due respect, I say Hog Wash. Black Lives Matter is a false narrative brought to the surface by ignorant radicals that reject responsibility. Poor examples of fine upstanding youth Travon and Michael Brown, both thugs as were most of their other martyrs (sarc). You could spend your time far better in South Chicago teaching personal responsibility for your actions. Your words seem thoughtful, but making excuses for violent thugs won’t help Black people throw off the shackles in their minds. I don’t believe trying to make society guilty for long past crimes helps race relations. As a senior transplant from Detroit, I have witnessed many advantages Blacks have enjoyed since before the 1960’s, so your feelings no matter how heart felt on this issue fails at least for me. Though I’m sure the NBPP in Philly will embrace your thoughts or maybe Al Sharpton will share some of his blackmailed guilt cash for helping him foment his divisive cause. Wasn’t his bombshell about Tawna Brawley and cops supposed bad behavior, also a big fat LIE?

    • Michael – How fortunate we are to live in a country where we can both exercise the blessing of freedom of speech.

      • So, You believe Michael Browns step father standing on top of a vehicle in Ferguson, Mo. yelling “Burn this B-t-h down” and the rioters in Baltimore destroying the city is the right way to address and correct their imagined injustices. Or maybe you agree with Rev. Wright standing in front of his congregation preaching his version of hate will make all things fair for black people. Expressing a few well chosen words still doesn’t make “Black Lives Matter” anything but a false narrative. If you’re going to cite the past in terms of the 19th century then you should also know the whole world has been guilty of hate/racism towards people different from themselves and enslaving not just African blacks, but whole countries. The United States of America has come a long way from when my Great Grandfather fought in a Michigan Volunteer Infantry to end slavery. I take racism very seriously and it has no place in my personal life. We cannot change history anymore than we can change our genetic content. We can change the future for the better, but jumping on a movement that is fraught with hate and lies will not make the future better for anyone. Hey, how about stopping the government funding of PP genocide. Now that’s an issue blacks should get behind and how about teachers unions that don’t teach our children. I’m sure you and I could agree that parents should be teaching their children values and right from wrong. Abdicating personal responsibility and making cops the next bad guy as we see get plenty of radicals excited, but you need to ask yourself if that’s what you really want in our society, because if you keep believing the garbage the liberal agenda driven left push we may see far more violence. You need to understand blacks and city dwellers will be those impacted most. I suppose this is what we get when black leaders like the NAACP and similar groups are more concerned about lining their pockets than their brethren. I suggest blacks need to look within rather than hating others for their problems. You don’t get great white or black surgeon’s from parents that preach hate to their children no matter what you might think. Political correctness is in itself biased and a false narrative and will never take the place of good manners. So, yes I say the “Black Lives Matter” movement is a false narrative and you can do better than using your blog to further that movement. Again I say Hog Wash. Just my opinion.

  7. Hi Amy. I’ve told my kids that If Black Lives Don’t Matter then All Lives Don’t Matter. That’s why it’s important to address injustices of a historically downtrodden group even if (or especially when) some of us more privileged folk find it uncomfortable enough to brush aside under a catchall, “inclusive” label. The point is to highlight the injustice, make people feel uncomfortable in their non-action or at least to understand and do something about the suffering of our fellow citizens. I am less optimistic than you about progress. I feel in many ways we are moving backward (voting rights, over-policing, anti-immigration/anti-Semitism/anti-Muslim sentiment, open-carry intimidation – I even read a story today about a school in the midwest that was planning to ban black hairstyles – I had to wonder what decade we are in), which is why keeping #blacklivesmatter movement going is vital.

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