By Frank Wickizer – Many people think that because the vast majority of segregation, at least public segregation, is gone, that means racism doesn’t exist in our country anymore. It appears that to many, believing is seeing.
Some think that because slavery has ended, that the commodification of Black people is over. It appears that to many, commodification must be flesh for cash. Some think that racism doesn’t exist because people won’t say the “n-word”. For them, racism has to be abject, but for the victims of subjugation, racism is about a lot more than what happens on the face, it’s about more than individual problems. It’s about the hidden, systemic issues that constantly arise throughout their lives that make their lives a million times harder than the life of a white individual.
Now there is a movement that stands against these systemic problems of racism, and it’s called Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Many say that BLM is just as racist as white supremacist groups through reverse racism, where the power dichotomy of the oppressed and the oppressors shifts to the oppressed being the new oppressors of the old oppressors. This is why many believe All Lives Matter is a better statement, but many others find all lives matter an inherently racist statement, specifically supporters of the BLM movement.
They find “all lives matter” racist because in the status quo.
All lives don’t matter to all people and especially to a lot of supporters of the all lives matter statement.
“Black Lives Matter” is believed to be a better statement and movement because of the way sweeping movements for people of color have worked in the past, specifically the way bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have been more of a gesture than an action.
All lives matter is a sweeping reform as well and that’s why supporters of BLM believe that action towards the liberation of specific subjugated people is a more effective way of creating change.
BLM is not a far-off movement that has occasional protests and gatherings. Three months ago there was a large protest of hundreds of people at UNL, behind the Union.
Many of the speakers talked about the issues that arose on the Yik Yak app (the college version of the Afterschool App).
“Openly and forcefully racist comments and posts were common and became more common after the #notatunl campaign started,” said Dani Young, a UNL student that helped start the campaign.
This campaign started after the problems at the University of Missouri when the Student System’s president, Tim Wolfe was openly racist. The #notatunl campaign focused on not having the same problems at UNL.
The rally was organized by Lincoln High graduate, Trevor Obermueller (seen left) and some friends for a class, but with the help of Dani Young, the rally went from less than 20 planning on going to several hundred ending up attending. The event was extremely successful and truly a sight to see.
These problems of course, are not solved by protests alone, but by actions of the individuals causing the problems, and though these issues haven’t been widespread in the terms of media presence, these issues still exist, even within LPS.
For instance, within LHS, individuals have attested to issues of profiling. These issues have happened in the halls after school where teachers have assumed wrongdoing based off of the color of the individual’s skin.
Another problem attested to is in classes, where teachers have assumed intelligence level simply off of the color of the individual’s skin.
Another issue that has arisen was the Freedom Breakfast. For those who don’t know, it’s a breakfast on Martin Luther King Jr. Day where the recipients of the Southeast Community College (SEC) Learn To Dream scholarships are recognized. Critics of the scholarship compare it to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a gesture, not an action.
One of those critics is Dani Young. She said, “Scholarships such as these do not provide enough money, and are often only applicable for subjugated groups of people going to trade schools. This is an action that is meant to simply lock those who are subjugated into their subjugation.”
Now, many, including LHS student Emily Hancock, ask, “What can white allies do to help the movement?”
Being a White ally to the movement doesn’t mean you can’t help, in fact it means the opposite, Dani Young believes, “White allies are extremely important for the liberation of free Black intellect and thought. White allies are the people that can have the hard conversations with judgmental or prejudicial friends that people of color can’t have simply because they are people of color.”
Social Darwinists believe in raising yourself up from your bootstraps, and the job of white allies is to help relieve the weight off of Black people’s bootstraps so they can raise themselves up.
White allies are important because they can do things people of color can’t until white allies do their part. Non-white but still allies of the BLM movement are just as important.
Multicultural School/Community Administrator Thomas Christie, a former LHS teacher, said, “What makes the movement so powerful, is its multiculturalism.”
To explain, the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century was mostly made up of African Americans and some White people, but the thing that truly makes the BLM movement impressive is the fact that it is not bound by skin color or ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation.
It’s not possible to target all of the groups in the movement because there are so many. This means the possibility of real change. And in a country that desperately needs real social change, we desperately need the BLM movement.
For more information on the movement go to BlackLivesMatter.com