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#BlackLivesMatter–a hashtag bandaid over the gaping wound of Black problems

Written By | Dec 5, 2014

LOS ANGELES, December 5, 2014—Just as the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls did absolutely nothing to affect the fate of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram (most were married off or sold into slavery where they remain), the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is another emotion-based, factually void outcry that will do little to resolve anything.

This hashtag gained traction after the Ferguson grand jury voted not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, then went viral with the latest grand jury verdict not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.

Now everyone and their mama is attaching it to their tweets about other cases involving white officers and black victims as rock-solid proof that there is a targeted effort to snuff out black lives, and that it needs to be fought.

Protesting is an American right, whether over social media or done in an orderly fashion as is happening now in the cities of New York, Boston and Chicago over the Garner decision. Here is the problem: it is not Blacks being targeted by a white, militaristic police system or a justice system that is fatally flawed. It is Blacks’ devaluation of their own lives and the refusal to deal with systemic issues in urban communities.

Had #BlackLivesMatter remained a consistent mantra over the last 50 years, we would not have the fatherlessness, crime, and poverty that perpetuate the vicious cycle of violence, excessive policing, and loss of life.

Enough Black leaders have pointed to poverty, lack of fathers, and the street culture as causations. So why do we keep harping on race and an “other”, rather than truly addressing what we have pinpointed is the true problem?

According to 2013 FBI crime statistics, 5,375 murders were committed by Blacks. Over 90 percent of it was Black-on-Black crime. To compare, 4,396 murders were committed by whites, which is about 73 percent of the population. Why does a people group that makes up 13 percent of the population target and murder their own? This makes little sense.

Deroy Murdock, media fellow with the Hoover Institution wrote in National Review Online about this lack of outrage over the Black lives lost at the hands of other Blacks. This article should have gotten much wider coverage than it did, but the mainstream media tends to focus on what suits its agenda, and this suit would not fit.

“As a St. Louis County grand jury ruled Monday, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, lawfully shot Brown, 18, in self-defense last August 9. This decision has fueled widespread chaos, including arson in several cities and infernos in Ferguson that cremated 25 local businesses. The national outrage still is at full boil over this white cop shooting an unarmed black man who acted very aggressively after stealing cigars from a convenience store.

“But one can hear birds chirp while listening for public outcry over the deaths of black citizens killed by black perpetrators. Somehow, these black lives don’t seem to matter.”

Murdock goes further, breaking down the FBI crime statistics in America’s fourth deadliest city, and further parsing the statistics this writer outlined above.

How many Black people in Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Milwaukee died this week? Can anyone posting with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag give a number? Have there been any protests, business burnings, or looting in those cities over black-on-black murders?

Doubtful, yet, #BlackLivesMatter.

The unborn is always a touchy subject, but one that further drives home the imbalance resident in this hashtag, and the protests.

Pro-Life activist Rev. Katherine, a St. Louis resident writes in her blog:

“Since the day that Michael Brown died [Aug 9, 2014], another 981 Black Missourians have died; 9 per day, every day since then. These Black Missourians were unarmed, innocent, and had no ability to defend themselves and died in plain sight. But there is no outrage, no riots, not one protest.

“So, while these rioters are trying to destroy my native city of St. Louis because of the death of ONE Black man, the rioters overlook the fact that just a couple of miles away at Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue, another 109 Black babies have died since Michael Brown. That is 9 Black babies per day that are MURDERED in plain sight.”

Rev. Katherine also breaks down the abortions in numbers for the city of St. Louis alone:

  • Total abortions for 2012: 9027
  • Of Caucasian women: 4836 or 48.36% of all abortions
  • Of Black women: 3266 or 32.66% of all abortions
  • Population Statistics for the State of Missouri [2013] from the United States Census Bureau state there are a total 6,044,171 residents, 83.7% Caucasian, 11.7% Black.

Black St. Louis residents are little more than 10 percent of the population, yet they do not blink an eyelash that 32 percent of their own are annually murdered by abortion. Margaret Sanger’s “Negro Project” is doing well in St. Louis and the rest of the nation.

But, #BlackLivesMatter.

Former NBA superstar and analyst Charles Barkley—who happens to be Black—is catching heat for daring to point out the foolishness of this selective outrage over Black lives.


Barkley said in the CNN interview, “We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. To sit there and act like we hold no responsibility for some of this stuff is disingenuous.”

Amidst the protest photos, links, and general “us vs. them” diatribe under the #BlackLivesMatter Twitter hashtag, there are glimmers of reason:

If #BlackLivesMatter, we do have to find a way to uplift ourselves, because whatever is being done is not working. Department of Justice Civil Rights investigations will not solve these issues either, nor more supposed diversity/sensitivity training of police.

One of the original authors of non-violent protest, Mahatmas Ghandi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

Now that the justice system, our first Black president, and the Great Society programs have failed, what will we do? A good place to start is old school—like getting educated—especially on the issues that affect us. The people who change the system are the ones that know how it works, and there is a stunning level of ignorance in this arena over the two cases that are fomenting such rage.

It would be a welcome thing to see more protests of drug dealers and blights on the urban community. Cooperation with law enforcement rather than being hostile toward it might mitigate some issues as well.

With more news today of another white cop/black suspect shooting in Phoenix, the outrage about #BlackLivesMatter could sadly become just a perpetual cycle of anger with no real solutions. Moving past this will require more than bully pulpits by race hustlers, “hands up” symbolism, protests, and throwing 140 character rants on social media with a trendy hashtag.

Jennifer Oliver OConnell

Jennifer Oliver OConnell offers witty, insightful, and direct opinion, analysis and musings on local and national politics and popular culture, with occasional detours into reinvention, food, and Yoga. Jennifer also teaches Yoga, and coaches clients on careers and reinvention. You can keep up with what's in Jennifer's orbit through her As the Girl Turns website.