Why Black Lives Matter should matter to you (whoever you are)

  • The outrage at #Defundpolice. I have no idea where this protest meme came from but it does seem like a poor choice in branding. On the surface, it sounds like the removal of all police and has been rapidly seized upon by some for fear-mongering and ridicule. Instead, the calls that go with this are really for a radical restructuring of police, in some cases dissolution of a police force and recreation of a new one from scratch as is now happening in Minneapolis. It also stands for a demilitarization of the police force which in the US is increasingly becoming highly armed. One might think that something like #Reformpolice would have been a better choice. However, given the meek measures police reforms have taken in the past, perhaps the protestors are right to open the envelope of discourse far wider.
  • The outrage at the removal of Monuments as “denying history”. Monuments have been attacked both in the UK and US. Obviously, for some historical figures, this makes more sense than for others. However, the whole notion of removal of statues, in particular, gets one specific form of pushback “but it’s history, you cannot erase it”. No, history cannot and should not be erased, but statues do not tell or define history, they glorify it. The specific purpose of a monument is to remember words and deeds. Another John Oliver piece from nearly two years ago makes this point very well for the United States. It’s one thing to remember the history of the slave trade, quite another to have the statue of a slave trader in your home town. The statue belongs in a museum with context, not in a public place. There is clearly a debate in cases where famous people in history engaged in good and bad acts — what matters more? It is simply a reality though that how people feel about these relative merits changes over time and sometimes it’s time to remove some of these figures and celebrate new people.

Recovering ex-CEO. Thoughts are my own and don't represent my employer.

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