THE BLOG

Do Black Lives Matter in a White World?

05/22/2015 12:26 pm ET | Updated May 22, 2016

Much like many of you, I have reacted emotionally after watching video after video of police across the country brutalizing our black and brown youth. I have cried witnessing the utter devaluation of what should be out most cherished commodity -- our youth in the fiction that is our so-called melting pot of a country. I also shrug with disappointment when I read television and radio pundits alike stretch logic and reality to justify cold-blooded killings, or other hideous physical attacks on typically unarmed, and often-handcuffed brown and black victims. I am only further saddened when even well-intended, but oblivious non-minorities mimic the media's popular apologists in social media and other locales. Will anything ever change, I say to myself.

Then almost in the same breath, I am reminded of what brother Bob Marley repeatedly declared, there must be those that will shed light to darkness. From the members of the same groups of potential victims, I witness hundreds, if not thousands taking to the streets to remind us that Black lives do indeed matter. In a movement that started shortly after the Trayvon Martin assassination, three powerful young women of color started the Black Lives Matter movement. From merely a Twitter hashtag to a national social media and political campaign, the Black Lives Matter movement was even felt at the footsteps of the White House. This is evidenced by our president's recent declaration to take efforts to demilitarize our country's local police. While I, like many others of the 1960s generation, look to grassroots social and political movements with caution, I remain inspired and impressed with our youth for standing tall and preparing themselves for a continuing struggle that will invariably lead to some progress, despite the criticism from the usual idiots.

I am even pleased to witness White liberal media leaders, Like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart use their television platforms to champion this wave for change that is sweeping our country. Despite this optimism associated with domestic movements, I remain wondering why don't Black Lives Matter in our White world? What I mean by this purposefully provocative question is the Black Lives Matter movement at the very least has made many in this country realize that the claims of police abuse by African-Americans was not some sort of urban myth, but was -- and is, in fact -- an epidemic that must be changed.

Yet, in the global arena, at this very moment, there are abuses that are at least as horrendous that go mentioned on our daily television news programs, in even in most trendy of our social media cites, or even at the so-called water cooler places of chatter. The following just but two examples where evidently Black Lives Do Not Matter.

At the very moment you reading this rightfully angry essay, thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslim "boat people" from Myanmar face mass drowning because they being denied landfall in Southeast Asia. This impending humanitarian disaster is affecting the victims of ethnic and religious violence in Myanmar. But the media airwaves do not mention, let alone flood us information on this human rights tragedy. And perhaps what is even worse, Southeast Asian nations are refusing these refugees any aid, or even a place to dock their overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. There is certainly very little being mentioned about those taking to the streets on this matter. And I even wonder if we would even care if we all knew about these lives. In other words, do these Black lives matter?

Some of you may say to yourselves, "this issue is a world away, and what could I do in any case?" I say, there is much each of us could do -- lend aid, call our political leaders, or, much like our youth is currently doing in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, we could find means to force action.

But even if you are correct about our inability to change what is occurring half a world a away, would you be interested in abuses to hundreds of thousands of Black Lives at our doorstep? Since 2013, to be exact, the Dominican Republic has denationalized hundred of thousands of its citizens of Haitian descent. These people were stripped of the most important of rights -- the right to have rights. They face deportations to a land they do not know, or worse yet, repeated and persistent violence in the Dominican Republic. Yet, much like the plight of the Rohingya, neither our media nor our politicians seem to care about these Black Lives. While activists, attorneys, and even one or two law professors are struggling to bring attention to a nation of brown people seeking to leave stateless hundreds of thousands slightly darker brown people, the lives of these victims do not seem to matter.

As the Noble Laureate Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King taught us from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, we must be "cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states, [and we] cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Respectfully following the words of one of the world's greatest human beings, I ask do all Black Lives Really Matter?