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#BlackLivesMatter, can I say Maybe ? Vol 70

August 28, 2015

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, then call whatever you hit the target !          – Anonymous

As a white Boomer with no Black friends, I want a conversation on race. No holds barred. Educate me ! Let’s get everything out on the table. If we can deal with abortion, approve of gay marriage, and even watch Bruce Jenner change on TV, it’s time to bring on the next phase of the race discussion !

Unfortunately, few of us seem to want that discussion to occur, to engage in asking and listening. Why ? We have so many opportunities as a people, that it is a waste of our considerable energy and talents to leave this festering wound in our society. So, lets begin …

Maybe it’s because most of us White’s do not seem to care to listen ? Could it be that our society seems to revolve around all types of victims today, and we are in no mood for more ? Mitt Romney’s 47% comment in the last Presidential cycle bespoke to the view, rightly or wrongly, that a portion of our population do not believe in the American dream. You earn your opportunity, it’s not a given, so not having that opportunity is somehow our fault ! Look in the mirror if you want answers.

Maybe it’s because we non-Black have accepted our guilt, and have moved on – why can’t you ?  Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of “Between the World and Me”, got lots of press and praise on his literary racial guilt trip, even from the New York Times. So, maybe we have accepted our part in the Black experience. Job Done ! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat ? You are still angry ?

Maybe it’s because the Black’s are going about their end of the discussion without listening ?  CNN showed a clip of a meeting between Hillary Clinton and a group of #BlackLivesMatter leaders, where the leaders told Hillary to just talk to white folk, and stop telling Black’s what to do – they would talk to their own people. Hillary, to her credit, politely dissed this proposal. She started talking about solutions, but got talked down. Was this an example of listening, or another lost opportunity. Really, Black yelling is starting to sound a lot like what the Israelis used to say about the Palestinians, that ” they miss every opportunity to miss an opportunity” !

Maybe it’s because the Millennial’s don’t care ! They must be listening, but to my mind, they are not as motivated or as engaged as they were in the gay rights battle. The gay march to collective acceptance was successful within a few generations. Why have race issues not been pushed as openly, or as successfully ? Are gay rights bigger than Black rights ?  As a Boomer, gay issues have little effect on me, so when my children called me an old fuddyduddy for my views, I accepted their rational, accepting that is sounded like the right thing to do, realizing that I could turn off the TV if Jenner was on, to no lasting personal effect.  How come our youngsters are not chanting about race rights ? They accept the melting pot of relationships, but are mostly silent on race. This conversation will never become mainstream until the 20 somethings get engaged.

Maybe it’s because some underlying reasons for Black anger have not been dealt with. To me, one reason has to be the war on drugs. All the stats point to discrimination, from drug use, to the gangs who supply drugs, to the legal system and policing practices, to the incarceration rates. Why blame the Black’s for losing the war, when it is a collective loss. Let’s call a truce, and move on. Legalizing weed would be a start, fully pardoning all non-violent drug offenders, and treating drug use as a health problem, not a legal issue !

Maybe it’s because we see other parts of the melting pot society that is now prevalent in most of the world thriving, even though these people came from countries that repressed their citizens. Why don’t we see #LatinoLivesMatter, or #PolishLivesMatter, or even #EvangelicialsLivesMatter ?

Maybe there is some latent memory aspect to this issue, a nature versus nurture schism that Black’s have to mature through, for this issue to grow up ? Aggression is an admirable trait, until it isn’t. Maybe it’s time #BlackLivesMatter tried a different strategy.

You know, this conversation has all the feel of trying to sell a new technology. It’s called the product curve, which starts out with sales flat-lined, trying to get traction selling your idea or service without much success. Then, after the period investors call the valley of death, the time when you spend all your money trying to get traction, some un-foreseen catalyst occurs that results in some sales, some results. These buyers are called early adapters, believers in the product who don’t mind any ridicule as they are seen using the service. These early adapters pave the way to the mainstream sales push that finally grows the product.  The story of Hush Puppies, the urban leather shoe, is the classic example.

Maybe Ferguson is the catalyst, the event after the valley of death time that will result in some societal transformation.  If so, and I hope so, the next few years should be a healing time. If not, then what kind of catalyst will we need to take the issue seriously as a people ?

So, #BlackLivesMatter ? Maybe, but probably not !

Next on Boomers – WTF ! ,  Has Donald Trump’ed the GOP ?

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