Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, believes the phrase #BlackLivesMatter isn’t divisive but rather appropriate.
It’s more than unfortunate how some people, mostly white Americans, respond to the #BlackLivesMatter movement; moreover, to the assertive phrase itself. “All Lives Matter” is the common yet controversial rebuttal uttered by ignoramuses when African-Americans and their allies reinforce that black lives have value and deserve to be treated as such.
Many #BlackLivesMatter protests have I covered where, while activists are chanting their famous mantra, detractors surface and imply that the protesters’ rhetoric is somehow dividing an already divided country, and that they’d be better served by being inclusive, or, in other words, by embracing and echoing the phrase “All Lives Matter.”
But what those detractors either don’t or refuse to understand about #BlackLivesMatter is that the mantra isn’t suggesting that anyone else’s life is less than, but that black lives, which in America has indisputably been disregarded – from slavery to Jim Crow to the era of mass incarceration – are worthy of protection, celebration and, more importantly, justice.
Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, understands this truth, despite his technology firm employing less than five percent of African-Americans. At the Facebook campus in California, the phrase #BlackLivesMatter was written on the office’s wall and, in several instances, it was crossed out and replaced with “All Lives Matter.”
Mr. Zuckerberg, who launched the Facebook website in 2004, had addressed this issue at a Q&A last week, where he expressed his disappointment in the racially insensitive actions. But after the most recent installment of ignorance, Mr. Zuckerberg, a 31-year-old college dropout who’s worth billions of dollars but only collects an annual salary of $1, is considering the action “malicious” and has initiated an internal investigation. Additionally, Mr. Zuckerberg made public a statement wherein he acknowledges that #BlackLivesMatter, as a movement and a message, has a right to exist.
“There are specific issues affecting the black community in the United States, coming from a history of oppression and racism. ‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t – it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.”
He also stated:
“This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community.”
It may be premature and overreaching to call Mr. Zuckerberg an ally in the fight against anti-black racism, as his involvement publicly in the grassroots movement has been minimal, if not non-existent. But the stance he’s taking currently, and his willingness to promote the mantra in his work place, greatly separates himself from his peers and, in a way, makes him a leader who could one day be a valuable asset to the struggle. Until that day comes, and even if it never does, it’s good to know that the CEO of Facebook, one the of world’s most resourceful companies, understands #BlackLivesMatter.
CLICK HERE to listen to ‘Why the Black Vote Matters,’ a podcast from The Dr. Vibe Show featuring a panel of black male thought-leaders, including the co-founder of the ‘Vote or Die’ movement.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Photo: Getty Images