Reality Bites by James A. Norton: What do you mean “Black Lives Matter”? Reincarnated post from August 25, 2015    

Now that I have your attention, let me elaborate. ALL lives matter. Black, white, brown, beige, yellow, purple – it doesn’t matter – all lives matter, period. This isn’t Ferguson MO or Hicksticks TN – this is Somerville, once part of Boston. I don’t have all the hard crime numbers in front of me, but I can’t imagine that there’s a lot of hate crimes, specifically race crimes, happening in this city in 2015.

So when the Mayor had a #blacklivesmatter banner hung on City Hall last week that was kinda the last straw for me – and I am not alone on this one. The Mayor’s office can go online to Facebook and explain that he knows, of course, that all lives matter and blah blah blah – but what about the population which doesn’t have Facebook or hang on their Twitter feed all day? How do you explain it to Mr and Mrs Old Folks who drove by and saw that banner and by the time they have the chance to ask anyone what it meant, instead of your message being conveyed, it’s someone else’s biased interpretation?


I have personally spoken to dozens and dozens of people who, like me, weren’t fans of that banner. To those people who are still smacking from gentrification issues that have beset this city over the last two decades, it’s another slap in the face. I know black people who didn’t like that sign being hung from City Hall. The seat of local government should be for all people, for all lives that matter. Not just for one group or race – not even for one minute – this should be about us all.


Maybe I missed something, because on it’s surface, this smacks of political pandering at it’s most brazen – and it of course plays well with the “progressive” crowd. It’s not like Somerville hasn’t been at the edge of liberal nirvana for the last couple of decades. So how about we just stop with that kind of posturing and sending the wrong message to the general public. How about doing the real liberal thing and reach across all the race, gender and sexual preference aisles and make it #everyonematters or #alllivesmatter. This isn’t the backwater mid-West or deep South. Just stop.


And not for nothing, but what kind of message are you sending the fine men and women of the Somerville Police Department? Let’s not even go there. That whole explanation fluff piece online with Commonwealth Magazine the next day was super shitty too – I would not be proud of that. I’m sure the SPD isn’t terribly proud that you feel it necessary to make commentary about “institutional discrimination.” You say Chief Fallon supported putting the banner up – well, I’m fairly certain he wasn’t given the right of first refusal on that one and knowing him, he is probably more concerned with actual policing issues that mean something on the streets of Somerville – not some political diatribe that defends itself by insisting that anyone who doesn’t agree with it is in “denial” or wishes to continue racial division – did I really read that?


My point is – there was more violence, racial or otherwise, in this city back in the 60’s and 70’s when the nitwit gangsters were all trying to kill each other. There was even more violence within the SPD’s own ranks for years than there ever was to any particular group of the general public. That’s just plain old truth, whether anyone wants to admit it or not. Let’s all keep in mind that this is one of the most diverse communities in the entire country. There’s no need to point a finger and say that any group matters more or less than any other. That’s what this community stands for and definitely what the seat of local government should stand for, not political grandstanding. That just doesn’t play.

One thought on “Reality Bites by James A. Norton: What do you mean “Black Lives Matter”? Reincarnated post from August 25, 2015    ”

  1. somerville was never part of boston. .it was part of the independent town of charlestown ( the rest of charlestown was much later annexed by boston) this guy knows nothing about local history or any other subject.

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