22 July 2016 - DrSunshine.org

The Black Lives Matter Test

If your response to the assertion that black lives matter is that all lives matter, you are a racist. Unless, of course, you have dark skin. In that case, you are a member of a subjugated class who has adopted the views of the dominant class. You may well benefit from that because racists love Uncle Toms, and there are plenty of racists to cast a few crumbs your way, but it's not an admirable trait. Not as bad as racism by any means, but not something to be proud of, either.

So, we start by identifying you as a racist, but that's not all. Besides being a racist, your capabilities for logical analysis are questionable, at best. "Black lives matter" is a positive statement about the value of a group of people. It's important bring attention to the fact that black lives matter because white Americans have been behaving for hundreds of years as if black lives didn't matter. It's long past time to stop doing that.

The statement "black lives matter" makes no claim, positive or negative, about the value of the individuals in any other group. To conclude from the assertion "black lives matter" that, say, white lives don't matter is a failure in logic. That doesn't make you for sure stupid, but it provides a little evidence supporting that possibility. 

So, if you're one of those people, you need to rethink the issue. Surely, unless you think racism makes you a better person, now would be a good time to take stock of your attitudes toward people of color. Do some introspection. Figure out how you got this way. See what you can do to evolve away from racism. You won't get there right away, but you have to start somewhere, sometime. How about here and now? You can start by contributing to the movement.

Dr Sunshine

Update, 25 July 2016: John Halstead wrote a detailed analysis of this issue and discussed some potential remedies.
Update, 4 August 2016: Glimmer of hope?
Update, 21 January 2018: There is a Kindle edition of Baldwin's essay, The Fire Next Time. $10, about 100 pages. Baldwin tries to explain the experience of black people in America. He succeeds a little in an impossible task. Dr Sunshine thinks he is too gentle, but it is a sure bet that Baldwin knew more about communicating with white people than Dr Sunshine does, and he probably knew that anything remotely brutal would be even less likely to get the point across. It's a must read in the same sense that the 2016 documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, is a must see. The title comes from a paraphrase, in a Negro spiritual, of a biblical prophesy: "God sent Moses the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time." It's a great line for a spiritual. It is perhaps not too far off topic, given the Baldwin reference (read the essay to see if  you agree), to mention that the bible would have us believe, although it is not entirely clear on this point, but it leaves one with the impression, well believed by many, that rainbows did not occur before the great flood. Even if you believed the story about the great flood, how could you be stupid enough to believe there were no rainbows before that? The level of willful ignorance required to believe the shit in the bible, and for sure there is plenty of shit in there, would be unimaginable were it not so plainly apparent. Surely, there must be a good Sunday school lesson in there, somewhere, probably with a better chance of success in a class for ten-year-olds than in one for adults.

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