Ben & Jerry's, your comments completely missed the mark
”Ben & Jerry’s deeply respects and appreciates all those who protect and serve our communities. We do not subscribe to the narrative that we have to choose between black lives and blue lives. All lives matter.
There is injustice rooted in race in our society. This is an important issue and is deserving of efforts from all including businesses, organizations and individuals to further peace and understanding in our communities. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
While the Hands Up Don’t Shoot campaign is not being conducted by Ben & Jerry’s business, we support our cofounders as individuals and our independent franchisees to express their values and be activists in their community.”
– Ben & Jerry’s Corporation
Ben & Jerry’s statement was respectful, but sadly very misguided. It’s frustrating and sad to know that Black Lives Matter is not understood. In the statement, the corporation doesn’t want to choose between black lives and blue lives and proceeds to quote Martin Luther King Jr. because obviously if you quote MLK Jr. you aren’t racist and know everything about race relations.
Moving on, in the second sentence Ben & Jerry’s states it doesn’t want to have to choose between black lives and blue lives. But by saying Blue Lives Matter they are already making a choice. It is choosing to ignore the fact that black bodies are being shot down without care. Black Lives Matter is not saying that only Black Lives Matter, but instead trying to illuminate the fact that Black lives aren’t disposable. It is saying to give Black lives the same respect and worth other lives get.
See, but the thing about Black Lives Matter is that it does not solely focus on just police violence against Blacks. It is focusing on ending institutional racism, which extends far more than just Black bodies being shot dead in the streets.
“When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. “
-From the Black Lives Matter “About Us” page
I think my favorite part of the statement was their MLK quote. If I had a dollar for everytime I saw an MLK quote about peace, love, and unicorns, I wouldn’t need this Harvard degree to become rich and famous. There is this tendency to pick and choose what parts of MLK’s speeches to quote. Most people quote about his philosophy of non-violence and peace, but fail to ever quote or even mention some of his speeches were he questions nonviolence. Can we please have a campaign for people, especially white people, to stop randomly quoting MLK? #StopRandomlyQuotingMLK2K15. Give me some variety, randomly quote Malcolm X or Ella Baker.
“If we don’t do something real soon, I think you’ll have to agree that we’re going to be forced either to use the ballot or the bullet.” -Malcolm X
I applaud Ben and Jerry for not being afraid to take a stand, but tt saddens me to know that Ben &Jerry’s refuses to accept Black Lives Matter as it is. Often, people at corporations like these are afraid of supporting issues like Black Lives Matter because they don’t want to upset their consumers. Instead of supporting what would be considered a radical campaign to some, Ben & Jerry’s would rather shy away from it. The sad thing is this isn’t something unique to Ben & Jerry’s. If all the corporations in America were asked to choose between All Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter, I bet money most would choose All Lives Matter. Choosing All Lives Matter allows them to appeal to a greater non-Black audience, because by choosing Black Lives Matter non-Blacks tend to feel alienated, versus choosing All Lives Matter which affirms their already established worth.
I want corporations like this to affirm that my life matters. I want corporations to stop shying away from controversial issues by taking the easy way out to please as many people as they can.
If Ben & Jerry’s knew what Black Lives Matter meant they could try to educate their consumers on it instead of releasing statements to appease certain folk. It would be nice for Ben & Jerry’s and others to take a stand and stand in solidarity with all the communities they market to and want money from. And that includes the Black community.