I had a run-in at a local thrift store (one of my favorite haunts) the other day with yet another black fellow wearing a "Black lives matter" tee-shirt. There's nothing that sets me off like racial identity politics, black or white, so I said in a reasonable tone, "You know, I don't want to pop your balloon, but ALL lives matter." You could see he immediately got pissed off, but before he could give me a rejoinder, I said, "That's why God invented firearms," and patted my right front pants pocket. He saw the gesture and said the first thing that came to his mind, "F-ck you, motherf-cker." I replied, still quite reasonably, "No, that's what the pistol is preventing, but I'm serious, all lives matter, yours, mine, everybody's, regardless of skin color. We all matter, don't you agree?"
This gave him a bit of pause, not being used to being asked to think about life in terms other than that of slogans. "I'm talking about cops killing young black men," he replied. "Oh I know what you're talking about, and I'm no fan of killer cops either, but when you put things in terms of race and race alone, you're no better than the cowards of the Klan."
Now he just looked at me. "You know," I said, "I've been fighting THOSE bastards all my life and I'll tell you something, they are damned happy to see you adopt their way of thinking about life in pure racial terms. And I'll tell you something else, they are happy as shit to see y'all murdering each other by the bushel-full every damn day. Hell, not even at the height of their power could they lynch you that fast. And I'll tell you something else as well. The ghost of every Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and every wanna-be Neo-Nazi fuhrer who ever lived laughs like hell every morning when the abortion clinics open for business in your neighborhoods. They love white people killing black babies (and most abortionists are white) and they love black kids killing other black kids. Hell, y'all are putting ALL the lynchings of the Klan throughout history in the deep shade and you're giving the Holocaust a run for its money (and here I raised my voice for the first time) -- AND YOU'RE DOING IT ALL TO YOURSELVES. Lord knows that you're good for comic relief in the parts of Hell that THEY inhabit. And the Devil does too.
He just gaped at me. And we were drawing a small crowd, mostly black women. And two of them were nodding.
"And when you put it terms of 'Black lives matter,' that implies that white lives, and Asian lives, and Eskimo lives, and every other kind of lives don't matter. So we get the feeling that if this is all about some sort of race test that we can't hope to pass to your satisfaction because of who we are, not how we act, then screw you buddy, we're not gonna play that game. So the rest of us get the feeling that if our lives don't matter then why the hell should we care if you think 'black lives matter?' And it's just a little ways from there for the rest of us to conclude that black lives DON'T matter either."
"That's right," said one of the black ladies softly.
"So if you wanted a slogan that the Klan could understand and use to recruit with, well, brother, that's it. So that slogan is either the worst kind of stupidity or the bastard who thought it up is trying to separate you from your natural allies or get you killed, or both. I can't think of another slogan more calculated to get an American Hitler elected, and I HATE Nazis."
Everybody was quiet now, but I thought, what the heck, might as well give 'em the whole sermon.
"And I'll tell you something else" (I'm always telling somebody something else), "when I see these black racists of Farrakhan's bunch talking about wanting a race war I'd say they haven't looked at how the numbers stack up. Because let me tell you something about white folks at their worst. When they get scared that people are trying to kill them just because of who they are, when they get pissed off along racial lines, they don't tear up their own neighborhoods or burn down their own communities like y'all do. They come to the neighborhoods of the people who threaten them and burn THEIR communities down and kill THEM. They have burned down whole CONTINENTS. And if you don't believe me, just ask the Indians. So before you wear a slogan like THAT," (and I pointed at his shirt), "you'd better think this shit through. If you manage to make this all about race and some American Hitler decides to put y'all on railroad cars leading to some camp, me and my white-assed friends will have to be the ones out blowing up the train tracks to keep that from happening, and I'll tell you, I'd really rather stay home than get shot at because somebody was stupid enough to buy into some racist's idea of how to view the world."
I concluded: "This ain't about black or white, it's about good versus evil and ALL lives matter." "And," I added, "you forget that at your own peril." It seemed like a good time time to walk away, so I did, leaving the cart behind. As I walked off, one of the black ladies said, "DAMN!"
It was perhaps my finest extemporaneous speech (with the possible exception of the one I am told I gave after-hours in the militia commander's tent in Texas that time back in the fall of '96, but I was drunk on Jameson's Irish whiskey at the time and don't remember a word).Yeah, I despise the Nazis and the KKK as well, and not just because they were (are) socialists.