A Grandmother's 'Truth' About #BlackLivesMatter Doesn't Paint the Entire Picture

Whenever there's a debate about race relations, I find myself taking a deep breath and waiting to exhale (now I get the movie!) It's very subjective and oftentimes turns into a shouting match that cripples the opportunity for discussion and growth. That's how I felt after watching Peggy Hubbard's video about the hypocrisy of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as I knew it would be ammunition for people on either sides of the issue to try and use in their favor.

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Here's the video in case you never clicked play. While it was available on Peggy's personal Facebook page, it appears that it's since been removed.

Warning: This video is full of emotion and explicit language.

I found myself trying to juggle so many thoughts and emotions in my head after watching this video -- and I'll do my best to articulate them.

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 Peggy Hubbard made some honest points that oftentimes do get overlooked. While I think some of her language and sentiments were a bit overboard, she is in fact speaking her truth. I believe there's a bit of a double standard when it comes to people who support the idea that black lives matter (side note: I feel everyone matters, but we're talking about a specific topic here). I find it interesting how quick folks are to point out police brutality when a person of color dies at the hand of a cop, but seem to turn off their computer when places like Chicago and even my hometown, Baltimore, Maryland, make the news for numerous deaths of blacks -- sometimes in the span of a weekend. At least to me, if you want to talk about black lives and whether or not they matter, shouldn't you also include victims of violence like 9-year-old Jamyla Bolden, whom Peggy mentioned was shot to death while doing her homework?  Or do we simply sweep black-on-black violence under the rug like some dirty little secret?

When it comes to the actual #BlackLivesMatter organization, their goal is to highlight racial injustice and the death of black individuals at the hands of those who are supposed to protect citizens -- not shoot first and ask questions later. 

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 I must say Peggy's video doesn't paint the entire picture and can cause more division than unity. On one side, you have those who wholeheartedly support Peggy. On the other end, you have those who are disappointed with her sentiments as they cloud the harsh reality that blacks like Travyon Martin and Eric Garner are killed, while the people who took their lives are walking free.

I won't ever take away someone's personal experiences, as they are often the very things that shape their mindset. Just as Peggy grew up in St. Louis, I was raised in Baltimore. In fact, my mother still lives in the city today (her home was on the street where the Freddie Gray protests took place). It's easy to cast judgment about certain issues when you've never lived them yourself. Peggy's opinions come from being raised in a  environment that makes her an eyewitness to unfortunate realities. So yeah, if someone asked me about black-on-black violence, I for one can vouch it's very real in our communities. I've also seen racial injustice when people who look a certain way are presumed guilty before innocent.

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What Peggy fails to articulate -- and others don't seem to understand -- is this: Just because there is perceived "black brutality," as she calls it, doesn't mean there aren't people in the community trying to make it better. The same 9-year-old she brought up did in fact have a vigil in Ferguson, to honor the slain girl and address violence in the area. There are also stories of moms throughout Chicago who patrol their violent neighborhoods to keep them safe. Even in Baltimore when news outlets focused on riots, there were hundreds of community activists and elders taking to the streets to effect change.

Just because it doesn't make the headlines doesn't mean it didn't happen -- and this to me is the biggest fallacy people just don't seem to understand.

 

Image via Orion Blastar/YouTube

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