False Dichotomies matter?

I’ve already shared what I think of the “all lives matter” rhetoric. But here’s a link to refresh your memory. And here’s another reminder of what I think of false dichotomies.

So I checked my Facebook tab and see someone has found a way of combining the two. Isn’t this fucking great?

FalseDichotomiesMatter

I’ve got one more day of my Facebook ban, so I shall reply to this one tomorrow.

Can you guess what all but one of the commenters answered? B, of course. Here’s what I always ask the “all lives matter” crowd: So you admit then that black lives do matter?

All lives do matter, but that’s not the point. When we say “black lives matter”, we’re not saying that other lives don’t. So posing it as a choice between black lives and all lives is a false dichotomy. But when you respond with all lives to a conversation about the plight of black people, you are saying that black lives don’t matter. And that’s the fucking point.

If it really were about all lives, that would of course include black lives. But it isn’t. Anyone who says “all lives matter” is only interested in shutting down the movement to bring about equality. Same goes for sharing articles about police in the US who killed white people when the conversation is about black people. Unless you shared those same things at the time they happened, you have no leg to stand on. You’re just using that shit to shut down people who are legitimately fed up with a system that’s treated them as subhuman for far too long.

Why are so many white people resistant to seeing this for what it is? We are all people, all the same, and should all have the same rights; should all be treated fairly. But that isn’t happening. In a perfect world, we could afford to be colour blind and say that we are all one race, and race being about skin colour is merely a social construct. But we don’t live in such a world.

This is what it looks like when you say #AllLivesMatter

Just saw this on social media and it conveys the message well.

WhenYouSilenceBlackVoices

If we (white people) want to be allies, we need to stop making it about us. Saying black lives matter doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter; it’s about addressing the inequality where it needs addressing. You don’t help starving people by feeding people who aren’t starving. You don’t help women who are victims by protecting men. So why would you respond to a call to help black people by making it about anyone other than black people?

I’m going to go a little further and say something that might seem contentious: We (white people) can never fully understand the point of view of victims of racism. We can never understand what it means to be a person of colour. We can try. But we can never really get it.

No matter how much empathy we have; no matter how much we try to imagine their plight, it’s still just imagination. We don’t live their lives. No matter how many black people we know, no matter how much we talk to them and how much we listen, no matter even how long we live with them, we are still not them.

Even if you live with a person of colour for several years and have a child with that person, you still don’t get it. People treat them differently when you are together. Even small things… like calling a school and asking about the admission of the child, can be different for them. When my ex called a school last year about her daughter, the woman on the other end of the line was rude to her because she could hear she wasn’t white. That same woman was polite and even friendly to me. And that’s just a small thing – a five minute conversation over the phone.

If we want to be allies, we need to understand it isn’t about us. I don’t know exactly what to do to help. But that’s because I’m white. I’m the wrong person to ask.

Please stop saying that protests need to be non-violent

I don’t want to write about the US situation any more. I shouldn’t need to. But… I can’t get away from it. I can’t read trending articles or look at social media without it being in my face all the time. There’s actually too much wrong to even try to take all the most important bits that are happening right now and put them together for my social commentary. I can’t.

Just yesterday Trump tear gassed a bunch of peaceful protesters outside a church so that he could pose for a photo-op with a Bible. But one of the people who were gassed and chased from the church was the priest of that church. The first thing I read today was a publicly posted letter of resignation to the Defense Sectretary by a member of the Defense Science Board who’d had enough, because of his support for Trump’s actions.

I can’t couch for the accuracy of these claims (but I do recognize some of them from articles going around that have been verified), but here’s an example of a copypasta going around Facebook right now:

Copypasta

The mask is off.

Austin police have killed a young man by shooting him in the head with bird shot rounds wrapped in cloth, and continued to shoot the medics carrying his body. They shot a known pregnant woman in the stomach, then stormed and abducted her from a medic tent. They maced young children during a peaceful daytime protest.

Detroit police have brutally beaten, tear gassed and arrested my friends peacefully protesting. A curfew is set from 8pm to 5am city wide.

Rockford police dragged people from their cars and beat them last night.

Minneapolis police shot at people filming them on their own balconies.

An NYPD officer called a woman a “fucking bitch” and threw her on the ground. She went into a seizure and had to go to the emergency room. Then more New York cops rammed into crowds of protesters with their cars.

An Atlanta couple last night had their tires slashed, windows broken, and were dragged out of their car and tazed.

Chicago police announced a curfew and then raised the bridges out of downtown. Demonstrators were trapped and at the utter mercy of CPD roundups. A police supervisor ordered on the radio, “Gas ’em all.” Over 1,000 people have been arrested.

Everywhere, journalists are being indiscriminately targeted and arrested. A Minneapolis photojournalist is blinded permanently in one eye after being hit by a less lethal round.

They’ve maced children. They’ve torn off a woman’s hijab. They’re turning off their body cameras and hiding their badge numbers.

This is just what’s been documented. Imagine what hasn’t been.

The true nature of American policing has been revealed for the world to see. I have never seen brutality on such a massive scale. They don’t care if you’re peaceful. They don’t care if they’re on camera.

Black and brown youth are the leaders on the ground. They are the leaders of our future. Black and brown youth are the people who are bleeding, getting beaten, and being thrown into jail. This is trauma that will last their whole lives.

To the bail funds. To the phone lines to demand release. We have to protect our people.

If you’re going out there again please, and I beg you, be safe.

-please copy and share

Trump’s statements are divisive, to say the least, and he has actively incited violence. It’s not a stretch to say that his words may well have already contributed to violence against his own people. In his position of power, to say the things he has said is disgusting. He should be held accountable. Any decent leader would call for unity, and acknowledge the systemic racism and problems in their police force, and make some kind of attempt at reconciliation. But not Trump.

For an example of what an actual leader does, see the response by Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, to a question about Trump’s handling of the situation. He seems ready to say something, then bites his lip and stands there for 21 seconds saying absolutely nothing, a perfect response to Trump really, before talking about systemic racism and the plight of people of colour in Canada. This is the sort of thing Trump should have said last week, if he was a decent human being and a real leader. But he isn’t. And instead, he continues to make a bad situation worse.

I shall try to refrain from further commentary about this, unless it gets even worse. It’s fucking depressing. But to get to my title (and yes, I completely forgot my chosen words – oops)… to combat oppression, violence is valid. Maybe violence is needed. When the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law are killing innocents, the law itself is unlawful. When that happens, shut the fuck up with your criticism of the response to it. And shut the fuck up with your “all lives matter” shit. If people are starving, you don’t open food kitchens to feed their rich neighbours. When people are oppressed, you don’t see to the rights of the oppressors. #BlackLivesMatter

Edit… Just saw this and I guess it belongs here. Reminds me of that Joker meme with “You get what you fucking deserve”.

ViolenceNotTheAnswer

Speechless

I feel compelled to share this. To say something.

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But what? I’m at a loss for words here. I’ve been following this story since the murder of George Floyd just days ago. And now, there are protests and riots, and even more violence from police…

With some people complaining that protesters are getting violent. Um, remember this guy and tell and how well his peaceful protests went down?

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With the president of the US tweeting “when the looting starts the shooting starts”…

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And it’s happening. That’s just one example. I have a Facebook friend who was shot in the head with rubber bullets, and I’m seeing more and more of this.

I complained the other day that he didn’t even offer his condolences, but referring to black people as “thugs” and inciting violence – calling for his own citizens to be shot? I did not expect this.

Update… So in the meantime, Donald Trump has announced that he is severing all ties with the WHO, in the midst of a global pandemic, and this:

31-05-2020 10-12-00 PM

This from the same person who tweeted “very fine people on both sides” when Nazis marched and crashed a car into a woman, killing her. He is responding to people protesting injustice and the murder of innocents, and people opposed to fascism. This idiot, the president of the USA, is very much on the wrong side here.

What the fuck is happening? I can hardly believe this is real.

In case anyone doesn’t get the bigger picture, there is no actual ANTIFA organization. There’s no members list and no defining features of what makes anyone ANTIFA. This means the Trump administration is poising itself to be able to label anyone as a terrorist. And we all know how the US treats terrorists, don’t we? They have no rights, and get killed quietly or locked away without any trial. Trump is a moron and he probably has no plan, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t smarter people working for him who can take advantage of this.

Black Lives matter–remember George Floyd

Even though I’m white and in South Africa, I cannot let these things slide. I can’t sit here and not share stuff like this when I see it.

Yesterday this was all over Facebook. Yet another example of a black man in America, an innocent man who was racially profiled and then murdered by police. A man who did nothing to justify this and was murdered simply for existing while being black.

Most of the shares yesterday focused on the policeman, the murderer, showing him with his knee on the victim. But later the victim was identified and named. So fuck the name of the killer. Remember George Floyd, a man who died for nothing. I’m seeing conflicting info – maybe he forged a check and maybe he didn’t, but that doesn’t justify murder.

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I think it’s worth adding… A responsible leader would make a comment about this, say something, anything… at least offer his condolences. But today Donald Trump has announced he will make an executive order against Twitter because they fact checked one of his (false) statements. Then again there’s also no word from him about the US passing 100 000 COVID-19 deaths. #Winning?