“Blue Lives” Don’t Matter Because Blue Lives Don’t Exist » VSB

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“Blue Lives” Don’t Matter Because Blue Lives Don’t Exist

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During the Q&A section of a panel I was on a few months ago, a person in the audience made the requisite “I’m not on the panel but I’m gonna stand here and hijack the panel conversation” five-minute, pre-question statement some people at panels have the tendency to do, and then asked the single dumbest question I’d ever heard in my life:

“So, what about blue lives? Do they matter?”

It was time to go.

Echoing the sentiment expressed by the question voiced at the panel, this weekend a nine-year-old boy organized a Blue Lives Matter March just outside of Chicago, Illinois. I suspect this child is the victim of what Bomani Jones calls insufficient daddyin’.

Each time I hear a person say ‘blue lives matter,’ I walk away with a lower estimation of their critical thinking abilities.  They have clearly not thought through the logical implications of the statement. So, before you embarrass yourself by asking a similar question to a panelist, go on Facebook and post something trifling, or organize a march to put on blast just how insufficient you are in your thinking, let me explain why you should never say blue lives matter.

1: It’s a logical fallacy aka you sound dumb as hell

Look. When you say, ‘Blue lives matter’ in response to “Black lives matter,’ you’re treating the former as though it is the same as the latter.  That is, as though blue lives are equivalent to Black lives. I get it. You mean to say that those who wear blue as a symbol of their occupation matter. They do, but here is the problem: blue lives (whatever the hell that means) and Black lives are not the same.

A false equivalence is “describing a situation where there appears to be a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none.” In other words, you say something comparing two things when there is, in reality, no comparison. Yes, people who wear blue matter. Postal Workers, folks in the United States Air Force; Snoop Dogg; University of North Carolina Tarheels and police officers matter. But to say that the lives of people choosing to wear blue is the same as those whose histories and existential experiences are colored daily by the fact that they inhabit Black bodies is about as dumb as saying that the five best rappers in the game are Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, and Dylan—cuz he spits hot fire.

2: It’s rooted in anti-blackness aka you sound racist as hell

Like All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter is a reactionary statement. It’s an attempt to refute a claim to dignity made by those who proclaim that Black lives matter.  Yet, unlike Black Lives Matter, no one feels compelled to say the adjective ‘all’ in response to ‘blue.’ Why? Easy answer: anti-Blackness.

There is a deeply rooted flippancy toward the concerns of Black people in this country, and the statement ‘blue lives matter’ is an American original. The statement reminds me of the use of the Confederate Flag in response to the Civil Rights movement. It is an attempt to silence the voices of Black people. If real recognize real, then Donald Trump is looking at you like y’all on a first name basis.

3: They don’t exist aka what the hell is you talking about?

With all due respect (which means I’m about to say some disrespectful ish), what the hell are you talking about? Seriously. What the hell is a blue life? 

Do me a favor, if you ever run across a blue life, kill it. Don’t hesitate. Sentient blue beings are not supposed to exist—unless this is Avatar. And even in that movie White folks were outchea on that genocide, so blue lives didn’t even matter then.

When the person in the audience asked that question, I couldn’t wait to respond. I leaned forward and said, “Thank you for you question, but blue lives don’t matter.” After a gasp from the audience, I added, “Because they don’t exist.”

I would have dropped the mic, but it was attached to a stand.

Law W.

Lawrence Ware is a philosopher of race at his day job and writes if the kids go to bed on time. He is a contributing editor of NewBlackMan (in Exile) and a frequent contributor to The Root and other publications. He has been featured in the New York Times and you can sometimes find him discussing race and politics on HuffPost Live and Public Radio International. He is the kind of Steelers fan that enjoys watching the Cowboys lose.

  • rhymeswithbrucelee

    Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, any of these only serve to derail the conversation.

  • mochazina

    #truth

    one is an occupation. voluntarily taken on. cain’t take of black skin…

  • RaeNBow

    #accurate

  • Val

    Yep, “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” and “What about Black on Black crime” is just trolling in its purest sense. It’s changing the subject at hand, period. They will do everything possible to not discuss the real issue, Black folks being brutalized by police.

    Anyone, and I mean anyone, who uses any of those phrases at minimum doesn’t care about Black folks and at worst hates Black people. Period.

    • All the statements you mentioned are ways for people to avoid critical thought and engagement. It’s a person giving themselves permission to be lazy and thus never have to confront different aspects of American society.

      https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/manufactured-symmetries/

    • Duff Soviet Union

      Police office isn’t one of the 10 most dangerous jobs in the country and that’s not even including jobs like drug dealer and prostitute. The idea that they deserve special protection is ridiculous.

      • pls

        What more protection could they possibly want? They have guns and a license to shoot if “scared.” They do not need anyone else’s help with that. I have long believed police officers should not have guns. Security guards (mostly) do the same exact tasks without them. But to take them away, someone would have to admit law enforcement and the real criminals are all in cahoots with each other. There’s absolutely no reason why they can’t follow other countries’ lead about policeman and guns.

    • Hyde Kholin

      Being so dismissive of others’ points and responses also avoids critical thought and engagement. ALL Black Lives Matter. But #BLM clearly chooses to ONLY focus on black deaths that they can use as political tools. See their response to going to “help” flood victims: Trying to get them to rally against police when what the people needed was food, water, clothes, a place to live, etc. And that was only after social media pressure.

      Acting like it’s only due to skin color and not the individual’s behavior is grossly ignorant. Acting like the dead were completely sinless angels is despicably dishonest.

      • NomadaNare

        What was #TerrenceCrutchers sin

        #TyreeKings sin

        #TamirRices sin

        And the list goes on

    • Your Mama

      as you type this we have yet another hashtag of an UNARMED black man with his hands UP gunned down like a deer for sport by a Blue, i mean White, life. I’m so disgusted.

  • Deeds

    Ummmm,…we know “blue lives matter” because if anyone harms an officer in any way they are punished swiftly and severely.

    • They blew up a cop killer with a 2XL, like we know what time it is B

      • mr. steal your costco samples

        i mean, you almost expect them to get at cop killers with some Itchy & Scratchy-type jawn

    • theresa.

      Even if it’s a police dog smh

  • White folks just want to be victims so badly. Oppressing everyone else isn’t enough so they want to be “oppressed” too.

    • Val

      Those Whites that try to assume the role of the oppressed are just trolling too. They want to change the subject. They don’t want to hear from people who are truly oppressed.

      • Like the wypipo who have ironically decided to ride for that damn gorilla. Its clearly a troll that dosent sit well with me

        • black-a-rican

          Then they’ll compare us to animals, but it doesn’t fit because we don’t get nearly the amount of basic respect that animals get from wypipo.

          • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

            A week or so ago, a yt woman decided to stand in the street and block my lane for a dog that was WAAAAY on the other side of the street, 2 paws on the grass, 2 paws (almost) in the street. Now, I’m no idiot and no way would I hit a STANDING dog, but she was doing over kill. I was so irked that I screamed at her. Mainly because no way would she pull her car over for some homeless person or sick person lying on the side of the road needing help.

            Edit: Sort of OAN

            • Mochasister

              In my opinion it is sinful to care more about an animal than a fellow human being. I love fur babies too, but I am not about to elevate them over a human being.

              • PDL – Cape Girl Shero

                I agree. We have a charge and responsibility to mankind, not animals. I believe you should Yake care of animals (flea baths, shots, etc) if you’re going to own them but not above humans.

        • Blueberry01

          …or that lion…or Michael Vick’s dogs…

      • Either way, when things aren’t about them, it’s always an issue.

    • Blueberry01

      YUP!

    • Mochasister

      How crazy do you have to be to want to be oppressed?! Like, who in their right mind would want to be rejected and treated with disdain by the rest of society?! Being America’s whipping n***** ain’t exactly a walk in the park. There is absolutely nothing romantic or noble about being oppressed. My great grandmother used to say that wypipo were the craziest people God put on the earth. The older I get the more I understand why she said that.

      • They want the image of “fighting the system” because Gen X and onward were raised on television media that glorified “the struggle”. They saw it as cool and inspiring, so you get tons of metropolitan white people who:
        1. try to identify as being “black” (and their perception of what is black I find highly offensive)
        2. denounce being Christian
        3. denounce being American
        4. denounce being straight in some instances
        5. denounce being middle class

        Humanity has not evolved to the point where we can end racism, bigotry, prejudice and all of it’s cousins … on ANY side (some of the comments in this thread show a massive amount of spin and/or ignorance I can’t take them seriously as solutions to the problem).

        I’m moving to Belize! :P

        • Mochasister

          Very astute assessment of their motivations.

    • pls

      I think they are afraid they will become victims if others are allowed to live freely and gain as much power as they have. It just goes to show that many of them aren’t ignorant to the history and current climate of this country.

      Fortunately for them black people are extremely loving people so it’s not even in us to commit some of the atrocities their forefathers have. But they can’t even conceive forgiveness because they KNOW they don’t deserve it.

      • Beauty In Truth

        GIRL!
        I don’t know about that last part, I can’t guarantee a “no revenge clause” if the tables were to turn. It might not involve bloodshed, but there would be some layoffs and lockups. lmao.

  • I would elevate the police over the post office (because F the post office as a staff, record label and a mother F-ing crew) and the UNC Tar Heels because we do ask the police to risk their lives for the broader public. It’s something we do need as a society. Otherwise, people seem to forget that people volunteer to be police.

    There’s also the minor trifle that police forces nationwide tend to be glorified workfare for the White working class. Still, beyond that poor record of recruitment, police need to recognize that they signed up for this ish, Danny Glover’s Lieutenant Murtaugh notwithstanding.

    • Negro Libre

      I think the issue with policing is usually that it falls into the “dialectic” of the culture wars originating in the 1960’s, which explains the relationship between Colin Kapernick’s protests and the military.

      Culture Wars aside, since the 1970’s, especially in the cities, the power of police as a governmental institution has skyrocketed, and the impact of this has had huge and multi-generational negative effects on black people through out the country, especially in cities where they have enough numbers where if communities had the leverage to check police power, it would significantly influence policing within their districts.

      • NomadaNare

        This is a very astute collection of observations

        Preemptive overpolicing cripples neighborhoods that would hold them accountable and limit their power let alone their funding

        • At the real risk of “well, actually”, there are some accurate historical reports of Middle class Blacks at least condoning some brutality in order to avoid having to help their fellow Black people, especially since they couldn’t easily move to the suburbs due to redlining. It’s structural racism all the way down, but it wasn’t just Blacks with a badge that bought into the foolishness.

          • NomadaNare

            I dont doubt this

            I believe this phenomena was responsible for the crime bills that the Clintons put into play in the early nineties

            What surprises me is how the voices condoning overpolicing as de facto extrajudicial vigilantism are always privileged over those calling for more measured responses

            While three strikes rules and harsher sentencing laws were perfected the call for improving education and opportunity in these neighborhoods was largely ignored despite it being cheaper and more lucrative to educate and empower than it is to incarcerate

            If all of Chicago was as economically viable as its North Side I can almost guarantee that these officer pensions would be fully funded but for some reason no one thinks that far in advance

            • Ger Wil

              Well we already know half of these folks are herded away from voting in their own best long-term interests. But thats a whole different topic. LOL

            • So much of municipal politics, despite its alleged caring for all the people, is built around “screw you, I got mine!” If that’s your mindset, own it and don’t hide behind the local government.

              I remember Slate did a series on how affirmative action was actually implemented, and it makes you realize that it goes hand and hand with the War on Drugs. Middle class Black America caked off larger on the government dime, screwed over the poor, then topped off their money by running programs “for the poor” and either scamming them or using them as patronage Mills.

      • Blueberry01

        So, essentially we’re recreating slavery again with the minority being the slave masters (police) and the majority the slaves (black people).

    • -h.h.h.-

      because we do ask the police to risk their lives for the broader public. It’s something we do need as a society. Otherwise, people seem to forget that people volunteer to be police.

      i believe it’s the same with Firemen…they volunteer, and we legit ask them to risk their lives everytime they go out…probably more so than the boys in blue.

      that being said, its the matter that there is no public accountability by police officers, as opposed to every other position, whether private sector or public servant…

      if you a billionaire that’s skimming money off the top…eventually, somewhere down the line, there’s an audit
      firefighters and teachers, if they are derelict in their duties, they can/are written up or lose their position
      doctors can be jailed for fraud, for malpractice…in a courtroom barely 3 months ago, a judge told a doctor the following:

      “You forgot the oath you took when you became a doctor,” Chesler said from the bench in his Newark courtroom June 8. “It wasn’t to make as much money as possible. It was to serve your patients.”

      why can’t cops be held publicly accountable when they make mistakes/actions cause the death of citizens?

      questions we’ll never get the answer to…

      • Because the police are a way for White working class people to get prestige. If I somehow banned the White working class from becoming cops, you’d see much more in the way of accountability. In this way, you keep the White working class from checking those with money.

      • LilMissSideEye

        doctors can be jailed for fraud, for malpractice…in a courtroom barely 3 months ago, a judge told a doctor the following:

        “You forgot the oath you took when you became a doctor,” Chesler said from the bench in his Newark courtroom June 8. “It wasn’t to make as much money as possible. It was to serve your patients.”

        I hadn’t thought to make this comparison, but boy-oh-boy is it apt. In every other profession where effing up = risk of someone’s death, we expect people to take it deadly seriously. Heck, film crews generally take public safety more seriously than cops do. It should boggle the mind that armed officers of the state are the only ones not expected to be in any way conscientious of their jobs, but sadly it really, really doesn’t.

      • Val

        Police are rewarded with unaccountably because they protect White folks from us Black folks. That’s the role they have always served and why they have special status in a racist society.

    • Val

      “…because we do ask the police to risk their lives for the broader public.”

      Broader public being White folks, right? Like I said previously on another thread; they don’t risk their lives when a Black person is involved. They shoot first. Risking your life is trying to first understand the situation before you act. Then it’s trying to de-escalate the situation using the minimum required force. That’s not what happens when it’s a Black person standing in front of them.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    I would like for those Black cops who are approached by other cops when they are out of uniform how they feel about this. Being “Blue” certainly didn’t protect them from getting worked over.

  • From the academy, “blue lives” are taught that we are the enemy. Despite the fact that most criminals aren’t thinking, hey lets kill cops then we can REALLY stay off the grid, because somehow these people who have signed on to protect and serve the public also think Grand Theft Auto is reality. And so they leave the academy thinking that some punk on the street is standing between them and meatloaf Tuesday. Paranoid and trigger happy they are released into our communities….

    Enter New York, George Bush went and bought a 9/11 with his trap money and first responders were there for us. Flag waving in the background dusty faces, they were heroes, our domestic soldiers….

    Enter Ferguson, and now that illusion of being Captain America has faded. They are offended. Crying Blue Lives Matter aND threatening not to do their jobs and and every time they get their feelings hurt by a celebrity. Somehow they have made themselves to be the ones who are the oppressed ones who just want to exist. Irony.

    • Epsilonicus

      This is fitting because the biggest killer of police on the job is heart attacks and car accidents, not criminals. They need to spend more time telling them to wear seat belts and eat healthy than worry about a criminal shooting them.

      • Val

        But that doesn’t get them any sympathy, Eps. And that narrative also won’t help them constantly increase their funding.

        Having a Black boogieman after them though gets them sympathy and more funding.

        • Epsilonicus

          So you are saying Blue Lives dont matter except for propaganda purposes. Hmmm…

        • TheCollinB

          They need that black body to grease that funding wheel. Mo N*ggas Mo Money.

          • Val

            Don’t forget, police are the key part of the Prison Industrial Complex.

            • Tambra
              • Epsilonicus

                They chased dude out of town. So dang sad

                • Tambra

                  There is a longer version. Yeah but basically. You either get with the programme or else.

                  • Epsilonicus

                    The union is Baltimore is so fucked. Literally everyone agrees change needs to happen but the union is keeping it from happening.

                    • Tambra

                      It’s like policy, it is good to say we have a policy but we know nothing will be done to enact it.

                    • Epsilonicus

                      And I think the union has endorsed Trump…

                    • Tambra

                      Yes. And after this weekend, unless something drastic happens he has won.

                    • You’re taking about the NYC-NJ bombings?

                    • Tambra

                      Yup and mall attack

                    • I’m praying this doesn’t push him over the edge. I cannot believe the race is this close. Clinton must slaughter him in the debates and I don’t how she can do that against an opponent who has no meaningful relationship with the truth.

                      https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/manufactured-symmetries/

                    • Tambra

                      It seems so. I am hoping that something major emerges on him so that even his people believe that he is not straight.

                    • Police unions, period, are fucked. The FOP just endorsed Trump for president. And then Trump has the nerve to try to shrill for black votes.

                      https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/manufactured-symmetries/

              • Val

                The people who need to see this won’t.

                • Tambra

                  There will be lots of counter argument. Remember the Binder from Maine’s Governor.

                  • Val

                    That’s the thing about racism, it’s purposefully illogical. So even when presented with evidence that what they think isn’t true, because racism is illogical, they can ignore it. Facts don’t matter to a racist.

                    • Tambra

                      Apparently institutionalising something is the best way of legitimising it .

                    • Tambra

                      There are facts and there are facts

                    • Kas

                      If facts mattered, they wouldn’t be racist.

                    • I think racism is logical. In this nation, it’s taken the form of white supremacy, which is the reallocation of resources and political privileges from minorities to whites. So if you see it that way, gentrification (taking away land) and even police behavior (providing a safe haven and well paying job to poorly educated white officers) has a brutal and tragic logic of plunder.

                      https://hhharris.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/manufactured-symmetries/

                    • Val

                      The reason racism exists is very logical from a White Supremacist POV. But, racism itself is not logical. It’s filled with lies and easily disproven theories and stereotypes.

                    • True, true. It’s horrifying from a philosophical how they’ve built a very logical government and society around it that also isn’t based in valid premises. Shows to go what a demented historical will can produce.

              • NomadaNare

                Bruh

                This “locked up on a humble” thing is real

                You will never guess how many times Ive told cops that theyre full of ish and theyve tried to take me to jail or written me a bullshit ticket which I had to fight in court

                • Epsilonicus

                  So real.

                • Val

                  I first learned of the ‘humble’ watching The Wire.

                  • Cheech

                    Sadly related to the bounce.

                    • Val

                      The bounce? What’s that?

                    • Kas

                      Freddie Gray’s ride

                    • Val

                      Gotcha. Thanks.

                    • Cheech

                      The rough ride Freddie Gray got. For making them run.

              • He does a three hour interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast that will leave you speechless.

                • Tambra

                  There is a longer one on TYT.

                  • Seen that too. I’m glad he’s getting the message out there. He needs to team up with the WV dude who just got fired for not shooting the suicidal black man.

                    • Tambra

                      The people who believe that all black people are criminals would not even entertain them.

              • Cleojonz

                This was am amazing segment. I cant remember if it was you or somebody else who posted this the other day, but thank you. I was sitting there getting madder by the minute.

                The key take away here is its all in the way they are trained. The good cops don’t think to blow the whistle on the bad because it doesn’t even occur to them that a wrong was done to even think about calling someone on it.

            • Blueberry01

              …school to prison pipeline, too…

        • Kas

          I had to go into finance to make more than what my father was making as a “retired” LEO.

        • Mochasister

          And free donuts!

      • grownandsexy2

        All them trips to Dunkin’ Donuts takes its toll.

    • fedup

      Which is another thing that keeps pissing me off…

      “…9/11 with his trap money and first responders were there for us. Flag waving in the background dusty faces, they were heroes, our domestic soldiers….”

      When did 9/11 become all about the “heroes”, above and beyond the lives of all the other innocent people who lost their lives that day? In all the rhetoric over people bowing out of 9/11 events, not standing for the flag/anthem on 9/11, the accompanying language is always about the “brave policemen, firefighters and paramedics” who died that day.

      But, I digress.

      • Cause Jorge who’d been there all night working on TPP reports…his life doesn’t matter. Not as much as a cop’s. Even firefighters and EMTs don’t matter as much as a man in blue. That tireless angel walking the streets day and night…nah…couldn’t do it.

      • Question

        Its like when they started comparing the shooting of Dallas Police Officers, saying it was the “deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11”. So now the ~4,000 people who died were just casualties of an attack on law enforcement?

        • fedup

          Exactly!

        • Mochasister

          That was disgusting. I wonder how the victims’ families felt about their tragic deaths being co-opted like that?

    • Ger Wil

      “threatening not to do their jobs and and every time they get their feelings hurt by a celebrity.”

      This. As if free speech isnt a thing. Every time someone speaks out they wanna cry out about how “fine! we wont come collect this paycheck and secure the game or your movie premiere or whatever.”

      • mr. steal your costco samples

        and this is like THEE only job wherein you can say that and not get immediately pinked. they even dusting professors with “tenure” behind stuff like this.

      • Diego Duarte

        If that’s the case then celebrities need to hurt their feelings a lot more. Then maybe the rate of deaths caused by police officers would go down.

      • kris

        I’ve said it once and I’ll keep saying it – call their bluff. The SECOND some dumbass union comes out with this foolishness the response needs to be https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/51ee31a65f60dce7fc7a5a9a2f6f936b9fc9acb4875570119ae9d85f07f541bd.jpg Bet you cops will think twice about letting the unions run their mouth after missing a few of those extra checks.

    • NomadaNare

      Isnt it interesting how the tactics of the oppressed from yonder year have been appropriated in service to the oppressors

      I think I saw a twitter poster sometime ago say something to the effect of what does it say about police that when you ask them to stop killing black folk they somehow cant do their jobs

      • Kas

        This one

        • Ger Wil

          SONNNNNNNNNN!! The people need to hear this!

        • BJenks

          bruuhh

        • Adrienne_in_MTown

          That part.

        • Other_guy13

          My head hurts

          • Mochasister

            Mine too.

        • Wylde 69

          I have been saying it for the longest!

      • Other_guy13

        If this don’t get you to thinking…nothing will.

    • RewindingtonMaximus
  • Negro Libre

    https://67.media.tumblr.com/9f9814a6173ca59c1eacbb39350e486b/tumblr_oaiawzdbFN1ubepnko7_500.gif
    “Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter More”

    – David Clarke’s Conscience

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      I’m done with people like him. Trying to justify everything under the sun but pretending that badge will protect him from another officer’s bullet if he’s not wearing it.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      Conscience? I like your optimism.

      • Negro Libre

        You act like only good people have a conscience…

        • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

          I never said anything like that, he speaks for himself.

    • Val

      I feel like someone needs to hire those intervention guys for this cop. The ones who drive up in a van to get wayward teens away from cults. Then they need to take him for reprogramming.

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