An estimated 20 million people were taken from Africa to the New World as slaves. Historians agree that Black slavery was objectively more dehumanizing and violent than any previous iteration, especially with a level of sexual abuse that often gets ignored in our public consciousness. After every European Country banned the slave trade, the United States kept plugging along for two more generations.
There is solid evidence that the economic success of the United States was predicated on the trillions of dollars of free labor extracted from Black slaves, enabling especially the textile industry in the north.
After the Civil War, Blacks were still restricted from actual freedom by an oppressive system of sharecropping, bogus vagrancy laws (which turned arrested men into de facto slave labor), racial terror, and a lack of opportunities to vote or organize.
After WWII, practices like Block Busting (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbusting) & Redlining (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining) & the very poor decisions of the US Highway System (http://www.timwise.org/…/progress-and-the-eye-of-the-behol…/), among many other factors, helped insure that Black people would not secure more than a fraction of the wealth Whites received during the prosperity following the war.
Since the 1970s, the War on Drugs and the expansion of the Prison system has turned the United States into, proportionally, the most incarcerated nation on Earth. The United States currently arrests and imprisons more Black men than South Africa at the height of Apartheid (http://www.politifact.com/…/kristof-us-imprisons-blacks-ra…/). White Americans hold an enormous amount of wealth compared to Black Americans (http://www.forbes.com/…/the-racial-wealth-gap-why-a-typic…/…).
This is not “Natural,” this is not because of Hip-Hop music videos, this is not because “The Black Family broke down” (symptom and not a cause), there is a very serious inequality at hand, 400 years in the making.
I’m not the best ally. I get things wrong, I say the wrong things, I demonstrate my privilege daily. But I know there is an objective injustice in the world, and I will listen and support those who speak and work against it.
This is why I believe Black Lives Matter.