The American Dilemma of Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter. Most of us agreed a while ago that this statement means that all lives matter, everyone should receive justice in our system, and the institutional barriers to equality must be broken down. The criminal justice system, the education system, and the economic system must provide opportunities to all.

And then, a political platform emerged from BLM. It lost focus on the ideas that brought us all together. In addition to talking about the issues that brought BLM into being, pronouncements about the US military and pronouncements about the Israel-Palestinian conflict inserted themselves, blurring our focus and obscuring our original mission.

The tragedies that spawned the BLM movement were about righting the wrongs that exist here. Reaching internationally under the banner of “intersectionality” does nothing to galvanize us to action here in the United States. As a point of fact, such stands become dividers as many of us that were supporting BLM are put off by the singling out of Israel as a villain in the sadly reductionist narrative of Palestinians as victims. The naming of Israel as an Apartheid state, support of BDS (Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel), and the deliberate misuse of the word genocide to describe the Palestinian situation is loaded and hurtful, directed at the people who were victims of real villains who perpetrated a real genocide. This is not to negate the real issues of the Palestinians, but rather to state this is the wrong place for this conversation to occur, let alone one-sided judgmental statements.

FullSizeRender (1)BLM is not about the world’s oppressed. It is about our oppressed. BLM is not an opportunity to indict the United States military, its mission or its budget. It is about correcting the institutions that do not serve the people properly. Rectifying systemic domestic issues should be the priority and with laser focus, we need to understand what has gone wrong and what we need to do to fix our nation before another generation is deprived of a full and hopeful future.

Unless and until the BLM “movement” can focus on the complicated issues, it will be stalled. There will be loud voices for a while, but systemic change will prove elusive and ultimately unsuccessful as the focused collective will of the people becomes nothing more than the diffuse broad brush protest against the establishment, by those with an agenda very different from identifying and making the necessary changes required to create a just society here in the United States.

I will continue to work for the society we aspire to be, but sadly I have been shut out from the “movement” many had wanted to create. I hope that the BLM movement sees the alienation it has created by its irresponsible platform and seeks to include all citizens of goodwill to join the important work that is needed here at home.

The challenges are great.  We need to think of this not as just “black lives matter” but as “all of our people matter.” The institutions that are failing need to be reassessed: education, employment, the justice system etc.  Kids need homes where they do not fear the police or getting shot, or not having a future because the only work they are prepared for is menial labor, which does not provide a living wage.
It is an arduous process and will require determination to carry out.  But until we do there are serious pockets of disenfranchised and hopeless people who will remain trapped – a true blight on our country.
Editor’s note: Call to action – “Jews have always been involved in this struggle, most notably during the Civil Rights movement. Are we willing to …”
Possible tie in with Dan Segal, who was instrumental in fighting the “prison industrial system” that sent under privileged kids to privately run prisons to increase profits.


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