Opinion; The Independentarian

Black Lives Don’t Matter in America

Apparently, black lives don’t matter in America. For several years a lot of people have been pointing out that a lot of blacks–who aren’t guilty of capital crimes–are getting killed by police and/or in questionable cases of self-defense. Any check of the stats will show a lot more blacks are getting killed this way than whites, and a lot more whites are getting killed this way in the United States than citizens in all similar countries (including many with higher crime rates, such as the United Kingdom and France).

If black lives did matter, the response to that fact would be obvious: all human life is precious, so we would go on a national campaign to find out what every other country is doing, learn some lessons, and try to save some lives. Instead, America has done anything but taking that action. Common responses have been to say that people have made the complaint in the wrong way, that decreasing the number of civilians killed by police is somehow bad for the police officers, and that other things also kill lots of black people (as if that we’re relevant).

If black lives mattered, we wouldn’t care who complained about it or how they said it, it would matter only that human beings are at stake.

Inaction speaks loudly, and it says black lives don’t matter in America. Actually, it kind of says that white lives don’t matter either. But that’s a topic for another day.

-Karl Widerquist, Beaufort, North Carolina, June 7, 2018

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 926 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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