I was commenting on a friend’s post about protests shutting down local (to him) primary roads after yet another black man was shot by police. It got me thinking and I’m reminded of Thoreau’s _Civil Disobedience_ in which he stated:
If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.
In other words if the message, that “people of color are being murdered by the very government entities that are there to protect them,” is not reaching those who need to hear it, perhaps non-violent civil disobedience is appropriate.
It’s easy to say that such actions are criminal. I get it. I feel that way myself sometimes. But what we really mean by our decrying these types of social disobedience is that we were delayed. And / or inconvenienced. Or, as in most cases I’ve seen: we might have been delayed if we had been on that road and, “what if someone needed to get through like an ambulance or something?” It’s a very short trip from there to “How dare they interrupt my trip / my rights / life? Them people, thugs all of ’em, don’t know their place.”
But, what these thoughts ignore, seen as they are through the lenses of privilege, is that people of color are being murdered by those sworn to protect them. That’s the message that needs to be heard. That’s the issue that needs to be addressed. That’s the message that’s being ignored. It’s not anti-cop. It’s not anti-American. Blue lives matter. White lives matter. But these are messages that are already clear. And that’s the point.
BLM and this type of protest are not an attempt to value another life over yours, or to devalue anything, but rather to establish that these lives matter too. And they hold the same value as any other.