By Natasha Lennard
Do we need to assert that Blue Lives Matter? In the wake of the killing of five Dallas police officers Thursday, it might seem so. President Obama called the shooting "vicious, calculated and despicable." The New York Post proclaimed "Civil War" on its cover. In the same week when thousands of us took to the streets to once again insist that Black Lives Matter, events in Dallas will force a number of false equivalences to be drawn. First among them is that if we say Black Lives Matter, we must say in the same breath Blue Lives Matter.
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I won't say Blue Lives Matter, because it does not need to be said. We know this because the death of five officers this week provoked an immediate response from the president, as did the assassination of two NYPD officers in 2014. That's what mattering looks like. While the president’s remarks earlier in the week on the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were moving, dozens of unarmed black men killed by cop go without presidential comment. For instance, U.S. police killed more than 100 unarmed black men last year alone. The fact that there are too many such killings for Obama to speak to individually? That's what not mattering looks like in a society.
There was never any doubt about the mattering of cops' lives in this country. To say Blue Lives Matter is to falsely assert that the cops' lives are undervalued and systematically discarded. They are not — no life should be — and the shootings in Dallas do not change that fact.
Five police deaths provoke cries of "Civil War," but hundreds of black deaths are just the "tragic" normal.