(NNPA)—After Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota there was Dallas, Texas. After rogue cops unceremoniously killed two Black men, a deranged shooter killed five police officers. The shooter, identified as Micah Johnson, reportedly said that he wanted to kill White police officers. Too many commentators referred to his middle initial “X.’ in an effort to be more racially provocative. Too many, like the unrepentant racist and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, used the shooter’s actions to excoriate the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is not racist, because it simply reflects our nation’s history. From our founding until today, there have been too many opportunities to legalize the misguided notion that Black lives do not matter. The fact that our Constitution reduces enslaved African Americans into a fraction of a person suggests that Black lives did not matter, at our nation’s founding, as much as White lives did. The differences in the terms and conditions of indentured servitude for Whites and enslavement for Afrodescendents further cemented the notion that Black lives did not matter as much as White lives did. The persistence of enslavement, and the contradictions that came from the practice of “breeding” (i.e., treating Black people as animals to increase “stock”) heightened contradictions, because the slave owners were selling their children and siblings. What did they think of themselves, if they felt they had to couple with people they found “subhuman?”