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  • Jacob Fohtung

Why Black Lives Matter is more than a Slogan.

With the recent turn of events in the United States, I think it is certainly obvious that there is still a lot that the country has to work to address racial inequality.


It is apparent that the United States has not openly and collectively discussed as a nation the discrepancy that occurs within race from education, healthcare, and socio-economic issues. So far we have had laws passed with the most significant one being the Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2nd, 1964 (56 years ago).


In this article, I will wish to share a few observations of some personal experience to make the case that we should see the phrase: "Black Lives Matter" as what is. "BLACK LIVES MATTER."


  1. First, Black Lives Matter doesn't mean other lives don't matter. It is a call to recognize that black lives from a systemic perspective haven't been equally valued. I think this as well goes beyond Police Brutality against people of color, which I think that has to be certainly addressed and action taken from a local and national level wisely and timely. For example, the phrase "Black Lives Matter" I believe it can simply be interpreted as what are the expectations that society has on black lives. Are they expected to be well behaved, nurtured, and have a smart demeanor, or do we expect a black person to be aggressive, ill-mannered and poorly dressed.

  2. Second, from personal experience, we sometimes generalize the black experience into a singular one. This by itself dilutes the diversity and multiplicity of being black specifically here in the United States and around the world. The Black Lives Matter, from my perspective, reflects the multitude of different stories and experiences of blacks across the world. As such, I think we can see that this is fundamentally the essence of collection of stories of black experiences with some overlap but are all unique in their own way.

  3. Third, I can will suggest that BLACK LIVES MATTER phrase from my perspective is not necessarily to provoke some superiority complex but rather to provide an open and honest conversation of what its meant to be seen and respected equally.


Thus, the "BLACK LIVES MATTER" phrase shouldn't please be viewed as a political statement but rather than a recognition of the states to re-address its past in an honest and collective way of her systemic inequalities. I will suggest that as we continue to have these open conversations, we should do our best to avoid generalizing the black experience and pause to appreciate the multiplicity of a shared but unique stories. This will only be addressed if we are all honest to wrestle with our past and collectively come up with collective means to listen to one another while simultaneously coming with practical actions to create systemic CHANGE.


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