‘What About White Lives?’ Says North Carolina Politician
A Wilmington, North Carolina politician is suggesting that a proposed Black Lives Matter mural in the city is “racist.”
According to the News & Observer, city councilman Charles Rivenbark made his remarks during a Wilmington City Council agenda meeting, which included an agenda item on the proposed eight feet tall mural.
“The thing that has always bothered me throughout this process is whenever anybody said something besides ‘Black Lives Matter,’ they were castigated as being racist. I think this is probably the most racist and divisive thing I’ve seen come before us,” Rivenbark said at the meeting. “If Black lives are the only ones that matter, you got a problem. That’s racist. Because you got Hispanics, we have a melting pot of people here in this town, and I could imagine a small white child seeing that like, ‘What about white lives?'”
The newspaper is reporting that a group is currently “seeking approval to create a public and symbolic display that is intended to convey that our community supports efforts to end racism and create a better community.”
During the same meeting, which was virtual, Riverbank said he has been contacted by “very upset people” who are angry “over the fact that we would single out one race of people and say ‘they matter.’ We all matter.”
“I think that would make so much more sense and bring people together in fault than putting Black Lives Matter,” Rivenbark said. “And I’ve already been called everything from A to Z, and it don’t bother me. My filters gone, my skin’s getting tougher all the time, but this is just wrong on so many levels, to just put ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and I am against it and I’ll vote against it tomorrow night.”
After making his comments, fellow councilman Kevin Spears argued the mural should be erected and reference George Floyd’s death, which came at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.
“All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter,” Spears said. “All lives don’t matter when you’re seeing a man kneel, someone kneel on his neck, a police officer kneeled on his neck for nine and a half minutes and killed him.”
He continued: “We’re not seeing the disregard for other lives throughout the nation, but we are seeing a disregard for Black lives throughout the nation. And so we’re not trying to disregard the importance of the lives of other people. We’re trying to shine the light on, saying, ‘Hey, Black people are citizens too, and we want to live too.'”