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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

Black lives, Blue lives, all lives …

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Black lives, Blue lives, all lives …

Went to the Art Gallery of NSW to write a belated essay on this year’s Covid-interrupted 2020 Sydney Biennale. What emerged from this visit was a wonderful exchange with a recently returned student who had been studying in the United States, expressing the concerns of her generation about the very recent clashes in Wisconsin and similar.

Apparently, within her university group the Black Lives cause was considered more ‘worthy’ than the blue-collar cause, and she acknowledged that she felt uncomfortable with this view which was expressed by her privileged cohort (herself included) that felt skin colour was not a choice but level of education, work ethic, etc, was. I was impressed that she named the gaps in this perspective and understood that level of education and success or failure in other life skills had many similarities in both ‘black’ and ‘blue’ communities, particularly those community sectors that verged on being an underclass. She also understood the anger that can escalate into totally unacceptable violence when people feel they have been dealt insurmountable barriers to leading a dignified life ... particularly among young men.

An(other) interesting insight my young friend made was that an International student of Ethiopian nationality – part of her inner circle – noted she didn’t identify with the 'black lives matter' activist movement but could sympathise. She felt this was because the tribal diversity in her country meant everyone is of varying (non-white) skin colour. Therefore she did not feel part of an 'other' in her nation.

The conversation covered how the underclass sectors of both the blue and black life activists probably had more in common with each other than the more privileged sectors of their societies.

From the mouths of babes

Later that day I thought how the ‘Blue Lives matter’ movement that directly pertains to the lost lives of law enforcement officers in the line-of-duty is frequently yet another tragic outcome of systemic inequality.

Next week the 2020 Sydney Biennale.

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