Stevie Wonder was discussing gun violence at the North Minneapolis Conference on Peace on Saturday, June 17. At one point in his speech, Stevie attempted to call out the hypocrisy of the rallying cry, “Black lives matter.” While well intentioned, Stevie was on some bullshit.
“It is in your hands to stop all the killing and all the shooting wherever it might be,” Wonder said. He continued, “Because you cannot say, ‘Black Lives Matter‘ and then kill yourselves. Because you know that we’ve mattered long before it was said, but the way we show that we matter — the way that we show that all the various people of color matter — is by loving each other and doing something about it, not just talking about it.”
Stevie added, “The first thing you must do is stop believing the fallacy of you not being important. Because it is completely unacceptable for one to hate themselves so much that anyone that looks like you, you want to kill.”
Watch the video below:
You Might Want To Rethink This Stevie
Alright alright alright.
I know, that was mean. And yes, I shouldn’t have said anything about Stevie’s frontal hairline touching the back of his neck while hanging on for dear life. Yes, just like black-on-black crime, Stevie’s hairline has absolutely nothing to do with the issue that is police officers having any regard for the lives of black men. I mean, it’s not like police officers are shooting and killing unarmed black men because of their hairline, or even black on black crime.
“Yes, your honor, I shot and killed that unarmed black man because of black-on-black crime,” said no police officer in a court of law, ever. So yes, while I’m sorry to have insulted Stevie, the truth is that I have no patience for anyone who conflates these issues.
Yes, Stevie, Gun Violence Is A Serious Issue
To be sure, black-on-black crime and homicides, in particular, is indeed a serious issue.
Gun violence in America is a serious issue.
Violence in America itself is indeed a serious concern. However, I take issue with the notion that the reason police officers are killing black people – when they’re not shoving broomsticks up our asses on occasion – has something to do with intra-racial violence. In fact, I find that position to be insulting. Not just that, it’s also intellectually lazy.
It is particularly so when anyone makes black people in America the face of crime. It’s as though, by default, whiteness and white folks are the measuring stick of morality.
This is disingenuous, folks.
We all know that crime, in general, is a function of the country’s economic and geographic segregation along racial lines. Bottom line: people kill, rob, shoot the people who look like them. That is to say, white folks are shooting and killing white folks just like black folks are killing black folks. I hate to speak in binary terms here, but the same is true of all racial and ethnic demographics. But, of course, we’re not supposed to inform our mostly white conservative friends who see Stevie as a hero and truth-teller.
You know, because, “All lives matter.”
Black-On-Black Isn’t Responsible Stevie
Look, I respect Stevie Wonder and his recent work that has been centered on the reduction of gun violence. However, to conflate these issues provides a very convenient distraction from the cause that is racial justice. Some of the people who applaud what Stevie said truly don’t give a fuck about black lives. If they did, they damn sure wouldn’t be attempting to shut down the movement that demands police accountability for the killing of black people.
And let’s be honest, if our conservative friends really cared about gun violence or even black folks shooting black folks, they wouldn’t be opposed to common sense gun control laws.
They wouldn’t continue to overwhelmingly support the NRA and the NRA-backed Republican politicians who blocked the passage of common sense gun control legislation under President Obama. They sure as hell didn’t care enough to do so after children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Why then am I supposed to be of the belief that they do now?
I’m sorry, but I sincerely doubt that black-on-black crime had anything to do with the verdict in the case of the officer who killed Philando Castile. Similarly, it damn sure has nothing to do with the second mistrial in a row, in the trial of the Cincinnati officer who killed Sam Dubose.
According to noted Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay McKesson, Stevie Wonder was taken out of context. Apparently, this is what Stevie said to DeRay when he met him recently. While I’m not exactly sure of the context of Stevie’s words. But just know, I still think that while what he said was well intentioned and well meaning, it was still a bad look.
I met Stevie Wonder tonight & asked him about his recent comment re: the movement. He noted that he was taken out of context & does support. pic.twitter.com/WGH0QRrVpO
— deray mckesson (@deray) June 22, 2017