Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

What does 'Black Lives Matter' mean?


July 30, 2020

To be honest, I don't think I'd ever heard about 'Black Lives Matter' until George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis and a white police officer named Derek Chauvin was arrested after numerous videos showed the officer kneeling on Floyd's neck while Floyd screamed he could not breathe.

But I did learn that the Black Lives Matter movement first began in 2013 after George Zimmerman shot an unarmed 17-year old black teenager named Travon Martin in February, 2012.

But I do wonder what Black Lives Matter really means. Is it that black lives only matter if they are killed by a white person or a white police officer? Do black lives not matter if they are killed by another black?

Protests erupted after Floyd's death. Some of those protests turned to violence that included looting and the destruction of private and public property.

In 2018 a white police officer shot and killed a black man inside the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover and there were protests for an immediate arrest.

But on July 3, an 8-year old black girl named Royta Giles, Jr., was shot and killed inside the same Galleria and the suspects arrested were black. No protests.

I go back to a case in Atmore I covered in June, 2012, when Kendrick Lamon Dortch, 38, who was black, was shot and killed by De'Anthony Marquez Dailey, 16, who was also black.

The case always stands out to me because Dailey and two other black teenagers grabbed Dortch while he slept inside his car after working to create a pool hall for teenagers. Video showed the teens pulling Dortch out of the vehicle, making him strip naked and as he ran away pleading for his life, Dailey shot him in the back.

I remember telling then Atmore Police Chief Glenn Carlee if three white teenagers had been caught on tape doing that to Dortch he'd have CNN, Fox and other helicopters landing on the front lawn of Atmore City Hall. We may have had rallies featuring the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in Atmore. But there was no outrage, no protests. The murder was covered by the local press and was quickly forgotten. I haven't forgotten.

Do I think racial injustice exists? Yes, I do. But you don't hear people complain when a black police officer shoots another black or a black police officer shoots a white.

I did a little research and found out that about 93 percent of the black homicides in this country are committed by other blacks. We don't often hear about those except from our local news.

So, it makes me wonder if those behind the Black Lives Movement really believe in what they are pushing. Shouldn't it be 'Black Lives Matter Too' or 'All Lives Matter'.

So, I'm having a hard time understanding what 'Black Lives Matter' really means. I find it a little ironic that the majority of blacks in this country blindly support a political party that says it's OK to kill a black child inside the mother's womb but still say black lives matter.

I don't care what color someone is, if someone is killed an investigation needs to launched and the guilty party needs to be held accountable. It seems some people want to do it backwards – arrest and convict them, then do an investigation.

Jumping to conclusions before all facts are known is not the way we should act. There was immediate outrage when a noose was found inside Bubba Wallace's NASCAR garage. It had to be a racial act. But the investigation showed the noose had been there for months and used to lower a garage door.

Anthony McKenzie held a press conference years ago complaining about a noose being found inside the mill in Flomaton. To him, it had to be racial. But later we learned it was a black employee who put the noose up to help lift and move pipe.

To simply say that every time a white kills a black it's racially motivated is just wrong. Are some killings racially motivated? Yes.

I do wish someone could explain to me exactly what 'Black Lives Matter' really means because I'm confused.

What happened to Floyd was terrible, but what happened to Dortch was equally terrible. Why was the call for immediate justice so different? I know the answer and you do too.


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