Updated: Jun 25, 2020
While many great things have come from the invention of Social Media I have come to find that the pitfalls take precedent when it comes to HOW these effects have managed to permeate and penetrate the mindset of people to a greater extent, and in the process actually alter how we perceive and act out certain behaviours. The idea that through social media we are able to command such consequential changes (despite the very obvious limitation that for most of us a message only reaches as far as our inner circle, which in most cases consists of like-minded individuals) to me begets a hyper-inflated sense of self importance that coincides with the latent addictive attributes of social media. This is reflected in the behaviour of many of us that subsequently receive that oh so fulfilling hit of dopamine every time we see our “activism” receive praise in the form of a like, view, share, re-tweet or comment.
Now with that being said I completely understand this mentality. More so than that I am willing to believe that more often that not people genuinely want to help and this is how they “contribute to the cause”, and so I do not wish to taint peoples intentions with ill will. After spending many hours (often per day) not only taking the time to absorb as much information on recent events from as many view points as possible, but deliberating over my own personal feelings I am still trying to formulate an articulate and coherent evaluation of what I believe to be a multi-faceted and complex conversation that within itself consists of additional underlying narratives.
If I were to relay my general response to what can be considered the overbearing issues of Police Brutality and Black Lives Matter I would have to say that I share the sentiment (which I believe is shared by most) that any [black] person who dies at the hands of police due to excessive use of force deserves justice, and we need to do EVERYTHING that can be done to make this a behaviour that is eradicated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law when perpetrated. If you were to ask me do I support the organisation (and yes it absolutely is an organisation) of BLM my answer is no. The most important (to myself) proclivity I would say I hold is individuality and that is something I would say is a part of my constitution down to my DNA. I will never let a misinformed masses sway my informed individual opinion at the risk or fear of being ostracised, I REFUSE!! I am aware enough to know that now more than ever peoples behaviour is representative of an US vs THEM mentality. It is at this point when you declare your individual position that you are no longer an “ally” that people DECIDE to stop perceiving any such nuance; and so I want to make it clear that by me stating that I do not support BLM that DOES NOT therefore mean I am on the side of “All Lives Matter” I believe any one person who views this from multiple perspectives can see it is much more comprehensive than that.
In so far as my decision to not support the Organisation of BLM, this is supported by what I believe to be extensive evidence (although this does not make me feel that my decision is above reproach) that the driving force behind their message has the majority of its equity invested in a narrative that is only utilised when beneficial to it’s own argument, which to me is counter intuitive to accomplishing the broader overall objective of PROGRESS.
In light of recent police killings of (specifically) black civilians BLM mobilised to show support for the black community and to demand justice for these events in which black civilians were killed. During the protests, riots and looting ensued and in a tragic event a 77 y.o retired (black) police officer named David Dorn was shot and killed trying to protect a store from looters. Now in light of this event no particular BLM activists have come out and denounced the killing of this 77 y.o black man, neither do you hear mention of “Justice for David Dorn”. So I ask the question is this merely because they believe this takes the focus away from the “main objective”, this reportedly being the killing of black civilians at the hands of the police? If that is the case while I will acknowledge this as A RESPONSE I would be hard-pressed to validate this a coherent argument, that in effect advocates the violent behaviour surrounding the protests that consequently puts even more black lives in danger of potential harm or in several tragic cases a loss of life; as per your own words “SILENCE IS BETRAYAL”. My argument and question in all this is to acknowledge that to me BLACK LIVES MATTER means BLACK LIVES matter and in your decision to only highlight what conforms to and confirms your narrative does this not make your behaviour that of the very people you oppose?
I feel we are all in unanimous accordance that the reason the police are so often admonished in comparison to other professions such as doctors who kill or teachers who abuse children is that in all these other cases the community very adamantly denounces the bad apples so to speak, which is much less likely to happen among the policing community. It is for this very reason that I feel until this culture is changed we as civilians whom they are sworn to protect and serve absolutely reserve the right to feel this way. This however is the exact behaviour I seem to see being exercised currently and so I believe if you exhibit the same behaviour by not separating yourselves as protesters from the rioters and looters (which I believe to be separate) it will only diminish what it is you believe you are striving to achieve.
As this is an ongoing conversation there are still many aspects that I would like to see transpire in order for me to have a full understanding of what are the possible ways in which these issues can be tackled. For instance to what degree do we believe law and legislation will help solve problems that I personally believe are intrinsically an issue of human behaviour/interaction, personal accountability and moral constitution. Personal accountability being another attribute I hold in high regard, I will ask one last question that for the most part may in fact be rhetorical. At what point do you evaluate your propensity for symbolic change that you are absolutely aware is nothing more than a gesture, and start demanding from yourself the change that it is you want to see in the future? While this may be somewhat trite there is something that can be said for communities that took it upon themselves to work in unison for the betterment of their community, elevating its standing among not just other communities but throughout an entire population. After coming to the realisation that not only do I find I am a black sheep among the masses but even among black sheep I find myself to be several shades darker than any of my fellow dissidents; I have actually found freedom in declaring myself a political nomad, this choice allowing me to demand from those who seek to gain my favour a true representative. All I require, no more or no less than change that is substantive upon its implementation otherwise we will forever find ourselves being fed handfuls of hope while our appetites remain unsatisfied.