The civil rights movement of the 1960s was a far cry from the modern version. Back then, the push was for equality for people of all colors. The goal was for people to be treated as people, not as people who belong to different groups (gender, race, etc.). These were noble goals and thanks to the hard work of countless people, laws were changed and things improved.
Fast forward to the current day. Racism still exists, but it’s been in evidence for millennia. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to ever disappear completely due to human nature. Humans just aren’t nice sometimes, and no amount of protesting is going to solve that. But that’s not an issue for this post. The current method of protesting is.
By now, everyone in America and probably a good portion of the rest of the world, has heard of Black Lives Matter (BLM). While the original purpose of the group was sound (bring attention to the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers), it has strayed from its noble purpose. Now BLM seems to do more to harm race relations than improve them, which is counter to what they claim to want. The anger coming from the group can’t bring about good results. All it does is make outsiders defensive.
Let me say here that I support an end to racism and believe that the lives of everyone (black, white, purple, police or otherwise) hold an equal importance. Despite this long-held belief, I don’t support BLM at all. What started at something that could have effected real positive change has turned into something that creates more racial tension than existed before it started. I wondered how such a thing could happen when the civil rights movement in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s day did so much good. So, I started listening to the message being pushed and the way it was being presented.
That’s when I spotted the problem.
Modern day civil rights activists like the members of Black Lives Matter are keeping race a major issue by pointing it out every chance they get. For true equality to happen, the differences between people must be allowed to reside in the background. If those differences are constantly shoved to the forefront, those differences are all people will see. When those differences are continually pointed out with anger and hostility, it widens the divide rather than shrinking it. After all, who wants to welcome a group of people who appear to hate you because of something you can’t control (like skin color)?
To be fair, the problem isn’t one-sided. Many people outside the BLM movement also react with anger and hostility. It’s understandable that white people don’t take kindly to being accused of racism simply because of the color of their skin. It’s also understandable that black people don’t take kindly to being accused of a criminal mindset simply because of the color of their skin. That focus on skin color is precisely why pointing out the differences between people rather than the similarities is such a huge problem.
If you keep race in the spotlight, keep it a point of contention, the racial divide will never heal. It’s like expecting a wound to heal when you constantly tear it open. Both sides have to come together, work together, to bridge the gap. Until that happens, racial tension will continue to mount until it erupts like a volcano. At that point, any progress made during the civil rights movement of the 1960s will vanish completely.
Don’t let this country once again succumb to rampant racism in any form. Leave the color of a person’s skin in the background where it belongs and push for true equality. People matter. Not one group is better than another because of race, religion, nationality, or any other dividing line. Until the rallying cry becomes “equality for all,” the modern day civil rights movement is doomed to create more problems than it solves.