Trying To Explain Black Lives Matter to People From My Hometown

SO… Being originally from Spokane, I have a fair few acquaintances who hold quite different viewpoints from myself, one of the most pervasive seems to be that racism does not exist except that all black people are racist and white people don’t deserve to feel guilty, and black people are violent… You get a clear picture.

In the past I have tried to meet a couple of people “at their own viewpoint” trying not to scare them off or anger them with liberalism (which is hard because you just want to scream at them). I had this exchange today, and it left me feeling a bit hopeless for a while. At least it ended semi amicably?


I gladly and openly welcome and want your critiques, how would you have done this differently? What sounds good, what’s too nice, what’s too mean… All of your thoughts!

I crafted my arguments in such a way as they at times went against my moral compass, in an effort to keep her “on the line” and engaged, while trying rather more passively to attempt to give her some more information, and not make her feel attacked or bad about herself (though sheesh…). It’s a tactic that has won me a small handful of victories with my own rather extremely conservative father, but today I feel, I have been unsuccessful. On another note however, I did reaffirm for myself and learn quite a bit while poodling around on the internet.


What follows is a full account of all my dealings with random woman. THE VIDEO THAT BEGAN IT ALL:


ME: Hey there, I had this explained to me recently in an interesting way.. And I know we are not close friends, but it did change how I thought about this, so I thought it might be a kind of interesting perspective to consider: “Interpret it as: “black lives matter too” not as: “black lives matter more” it does not negate the fact that every life on earth matters and is special, which every life on earth certainly is, and should be. Black lives matter is simply trying to acknowledge that we culturally, (not individually, everyone makes their own individual choices), seem to value black/ brown lives LESS. Even if a person comes from a community where they do not see racism happening to people they know, or see it enacted by people they know, it does not mean that it doesn’t exist.


I feel like most of the people who are upset by backlash against all lives matter are just misunderstanding the point of black lives matter. By saying All lives matter, to a group of people who have been systematically repressed for so long in society, you are taking their attempt at peaceful protest to better their own lives, and saying it isn’t valid, or that they are wrong to do so. All lives matter, but we culturally (not necessarily individually) do not treat black lives as if they matter as much.”


REDACTED: Omg What you just said is sad. Do you not see what is going on and do you not see who is racist these days. Obviously you haven’t lived back east or in the south. Why is there even a group called Black lives matter or a group called All lives matter. It is all division. Divide and conquer. If who ever started this can divide then they can conquer…. think about whom that might be.

Well, I am not a very political person, I do have family in Florida so I do feel like I understand what you mean as the Seattle I live in today is one of the most progressive cities in the country, but I do feel as if I have an understanding that it’s not like that everywhere. To the racism comment, I feel that everyone is racist, you are racist I am racist, it does not drive our actions but it does drive our thoughts. Racism when not acted upon is not a violent term, but our basic psychology. Human beings feel most comfortable with people they have lived around intimately, and are wary of outsiders, especially when punctuated by a physical difference.

I’m not an authority on the matter so I don’t know if I can better explain why each group needs to or does exist (BLM/ALM), but I am a little confused by what you mean by “who started the divide” Are you talking about who started the divide between races? Who started black lives matter? Also, something else to think about, Divide and Conquer refers to “the policy of maintaining control over one’s subordinates or subjects by encouraging dissent between them.” And thus appears to be achievable only by those with power. Is it a powerful class/ wealth issue? Like the people with the power refers to the people with the money who began to divide and conquer the races by making them hate each other?

Finally, what is it that they are conquering? I don’t mean any of this in a harsh or rude way at all, I am really trying to have an open conversation with you to better understand where you are coming from, but I completely understand if that makes you uncomfortable, if you are offended it was definitely not my intent, I just have these questions.

REDACTED: Divide and Conquer refers to “the policy of maintaining control over one’s subordinates or subjects by encouraging dissent between them.” Your words exactly. Look at history while you think about that statement and then think about this: 

Image may contain: 1 person

Not trying to offend you just educate you.

ME: No offense taken at all! I am a little foggy on your meaning “your words exactly, look at history,” so if you could be more clear, and explain a little more what you mean I would really appreciate that, but! I have seen this graphic before, and had to learn more so had studied the statements included therein. I don’t believe that white people are bad or good, or black people are bad or good, different people in history and groups in history have behaved both ways, so nobody is inherently innocent, or inherently to blame THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT made in this graphic is that you definitely should not feel guilty for anything that was not perpetuated by yourself, it only breeds the type of anger and defensiveness that drives people to fear and hate one another. This is what I uncovered (might be a bit long but I wanted to be thorough as to what I had learned)! Also, I really try to stay away from social media or partisan sites as a news source, so I’ll follow this up with references on the information!


African slaveholders didn’t think of themselves or their slaves as ‘Africans.’ Instead they thought of themselves as Edo or Songhai or members of another group. They thought of their slaves as foreigners or inferiors. In the same way, the Spanish, the French, and the English could massacre each other in bloody wars because they thought of themselves as Spanish, French, or English, rather than Europeans. So essentially, on the Africa side it is an interesting thought to consider that white colonizers were paying for POW’s, and shipping them to America as slaves. Not that they would not have become slaves had they stayed in Africa, there is evil the world over, but this I do find at least worthwhile to mention.


While the case of Anthony Johnson and John Casor was not a matter of the first slave owner, it might have been the first civil case involving slavery (though this occurred in Brazil not America). At the very least this is the first known example of a black man owning either indenture servants or slaves in the colonies. Slaves had been here since 1619, and all slaves had been “legal” slaves (and thus their owners “legal” slave owners) since the first law legalizing slavery passed. The first man to be considered a slave by a court of law was John Punch, and his owner Hugh Gwyn considered the first slave owner by a court of law. In conclusion, a black man did own slaves in Jamestown Va., but he was NOT the first slave owner. The first “20 odd” slaves arrived in 1619 on a Dutch boat and were then sold to Jamestown residents.

There were white and black indentured servants then, which differ greatly from slaves. Indentured servitude was not a lifetime deal, but rather a contract to work for a certain number of years in exchange for a safe passage to the Americas. Furthermore, in 1670, when Johnson died, a court in Virginia ruled that, because “he was a Negro and by consequence an alien,” the land owned by Johnson (in Virginia) rightfully belonged to the Crown, meaning that because he was a negro he did not have the legal right to own property to begin with and therefore was not a legal slave owner.

Worth noting: There are certain things in which the physical nature of a city, the fact the people are piled on top of each other, requires some notion of the public good, conservative ideology works beautifully in the suburbs, because it makes sense spatially. Density makes all of these things possible, and it requires its own kind of politics.

There’s no reason why the Democratic Party should have an exclusive lock on this idea. Investing government money efficiently – as Republicans want to do – is also about focusing on how it’s spent in cities. Also I included the wealthiest cities in the country for comparison (population over 500,000 to eliminate scale bias).

Detroit – Nonpartisan 10.6% white 82.7% black
St. Louis – Democratic 46.4% white 47.9% black
Rochester – Democratic 43.7% white 41.7% black
Cleveland – Nonpartisan 37.3% white 53.3% black
Birmingham – Nonpartisan 21.1%white 73.4% black
San Bernardino – Nonpartisan 67.7% white 15% black
Laredo – Nonpartisan 3.4% white 0.5% black 95.6% Hispanic
Newark – Nonpartisan 26.3% white 52.4% black
Miami – Nonpartisan 11.9% white 19.2% black 70.0% Hispanic
Buffalo – Democratic 45.8% white 38.6% black
Toledo – Nonpartisan 64.8% white 27.2% black
Cincinnati – Nonpartisan 48.1% white 44.8% black
New Orleans – Democratic 30.5% white 60.2% black
Fresno – Nonpartisan 49.6% white 8.3% black 46.9% Hispanic
Philadelphia – Democratic 45.7% white 44.3% black
Hialeah – Nonpartisan 4.2% white 2.7% black 94.7% Hispanic
Tuscon – Democratic 47.2% white 5.0% black 41.6% Hispanic
Stockton – Nonpartisan 37.0% white 12.2% black 40.3% Hispanic
Dallas – Nonpartisan 50.7% white 25% black
Baltimore – Democratic 31.6% white 63.3% black
Modesto – Democratic 65.0% white 4.2% black
Montgomery – Republican 37.3% white 56.6% black
Winston – Salem – Democratic 47.1% white 34.7% black

San Francisco – Nonpartisan 48.5% white 6.1% black
San Jose – Nonpartisan 42.8% white 3.2% black
Washington DC – Democratic 43.4% white 49.5% black
Seattle – Nonpartisan 69.5% white 7.9% black
San Diego – Nonpartisan 58.9% white 6.7% black
Boston – Nonpartisan 53.9% white 24.4% black
NYC – Democratic 71.2% white 17.5% black
Los Angeles – Nonpartisan 49.8% white 9.6% black
Austin – Nonpartisan 68.3% white 8.1% black
Denver – Nonpartisan 68.9% white 10.2% black
Charlotte – Democratic 50.0% white 35.0% black
Huston – Democratic 50.5% white 23.7% black
Chicago – Nonpartisan 45.0% white 32.9% black
Portland – Nonpartisan 76.1% white 6.3% black
Phoenix – Nonpartisan 65.9% white 6.5% black
Fort Worth – Nonpartisan 61.1% white 18.9% black
Las Vegas – Nonpartisan 62.1% white 11.1% black
Nashville – Nonpartisan 56.3% white 28.4% black
Albuquerque – Nonpartisan 42.1% white 3.3% black
Oklahoma City – Nonpartisan 62.7% white 15.1% black
Louisville – Democratic 70.6% white 22.9% black
Jacksonville – Republican 59.4% white 30.7% black
San Antonio – Nonpartisan 72.6% white 6.9% black
El Paso – Nonpartisan 14.2% white 3.4% black 80.7% Hispanic

The main point from earlier being that not only the poorest ghettos, but also the wealthiest cities are primarily run by Nonpartisans or Democrats, likely due to population density fostering more of a sense of community support.

I like this article because it gives the information in a couple different formats. This becomes a very interesting argument, because looking at all of the data you may draw a different conclusion, or you may not. Anyone can craft a statistic which makes them dangerous for sure, and I am not saying that you are wrong because in fact you are right, more white men are killed by police than are black men. We can understand the other side if we consider that the number of black people killed by police is disproportionate.

If I have a room full of 100 people, and 80 of them are white, and 20 of them are black, and I “remove” half of them, you would expect that 40 white people, and 10 black people would be taken out. What if 17 black people and 33 white people were taken out? These numbers are purely generalized and not actual but the idea is there, that yes, more white people were removed, but now in the room you have 47 white people and 3 black people left. It is possible to see the argument that, based on population size and demographics, the argument can be made that by far and away a much higher percentage of black people are killed than white people. Again, this conclusion is for us to reach as individuals, and really up to each person to decide for themselves, so you are not wrong, and I am not wrong, it depends how you look at that data, and how much data you look at.


The first thing that gets me about this statement is that I can’t find anything anywhere about black people complaining about white people’s behavior during riots in demographically black areas. It kind of goes without saying that you interact most within a seven mile radius of your house, so it’s completely fair, and totally correct that black people statistically kill black people and white people statistically kill white people, the same being true for riots. Riots are chaos, they happen where they happen, they aren’t premeditated, you don’t get upset, decide to riot, then change locations and continue to riot. So yes this is right, the only thing that is in some ways speculative is that it seems to be presented in a way here that would indicate it is something that, like the rest of the list, “white people” have been made to feel guilty about, when really, it’s just a separate, true statement that doesn’t really make as much of a point. It’s just a negative thing that isn’t exactly related.


AAAAANYWAY, whew, that was a lot! If you took the time to read it, I truly appreciate having discussions like these with people who hold different views from myself, I think it helps us all understand each other more and ultimately, if we disagree on everything, we are proving to the world that thinking differently is a really, really important, and great opportunity that we have in this country. I learned a couple things I didn’t know, just in collecting this information!

REDACTED: I am glad you learned some things in all of this and yes I did read it all. Good research. This topic can indeed go on and on and on and we can go deeper and deeper with this. But to what avail. Let’s just say there is evil in this world and it does appear that it is winning, But It won’t. God does have the final say. It is Only If people pull their heads out of there asses and realize that we are all created equal, in God’s image, and learn to love one another and put their selfish greedy desires aside, then maybe we might be able to move forward.

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