With the ongoing issues in the Black community around police murder and brutality, a few have decided to tip toe around direct support for the call we have come to known as Black Lives Matter.
At a Harlem event yesterday, I picked up a brochure for Harlem Week 2015. Reading through it, I noticed two events labeled under “Our Lives Matter” One event, was labeled as a “Salute to Unity and Healing” The second event, which is in the picture to the left, is deemed an international tribute and salute. Somebody, tell me what’s wrong with this picture.
When I see things like this, it gives me pause. In this writer’s opinion, every variation of Black Lives Matter is a form of reactionary push back against the idea itself. It’s almost as if we are re fighting the entire “capitalize the B in Black” struggle all over again. Words do matter. What is really confounding is that, when you get right down to it, Black Lives Matter is not even really a militant statement. It is an outcry to recognize that we, at this particular moment in American society, are under attack in ways that other people are not. Whether its the word “your”, “our”, or “all” substituting them for Black points away from this deliberately. Therefore, it does not stand in solidarity with those who rally around BLM as they address the concerns of today. In fact, it counter-poses these matters with a “yes, but” tone of voice at best, and at worse, mocks and trivializes what BLM is in response to. Despite a number of articles explaining why “all lives” matter is problematic, variations on it continue to spring up.
As a Harlem resident, its disappointing to see the continuation of erasure and appropriation of Black Lives Matter through half-hearted solidarity.