(Updated December 17, 2014 with a reading list)
Does anyone else feel like the #BlackLivesMatter movement has a lot of participants that don’t realize the original methodology and demands behind the movement? Started by Alicia Garza, after the Trayvon Martin murder verdict, Garza makes it clear that the movement is to include all Black lives….but it seems like the focus by the majority out in the streets (at least the ones I hear and see in the news), since Ferguson, is that only the lives of Black cisgender straight male victims of police and/or vigilante violence matter. Am I hallucinating here? Those like Marissa Alexander, CeCe McDonald, and Renisha McBride have been left to the margins; basically forgotten it feels like. Marissa used her firearm to fire a warning shot into the ceiling of her own house to prevent her abusive ex husband from entering and hurting her and her children again. She had just given birth 9 days earlier. Even though she stood her ground, she was sentenced to 60 years in jail, led by the same lawyer who helped to get Zimmerman off; this was despite the medical records showing she has been beaten by her husband and he is violent and her ex husband admitting that he was there to cause trouble. CeCe McDonald, a transwoman, defended herself from her transhating attacker and went to jail after it was determined she ‘should’ be punished because the man who attacked her died from the injuries she inflicted upon him.
Renisha McBride got into a car accident and left her car to seek help. She knocked on a man’s door and he responded by shooting her because of his ‘negrophobia’.
I don’t get it.
BlackLivesMatter started off as a black feminist queer oriented movement. How many out there, who have joined the protests, have actually taken the time to go to the website and read the ‘About’ section. This section will school people on how ALL Black Lives Matters (not just Black cisgender males). Garza also sets it straight: that making the claim ‘ALLLIVESMATTER’ completely dismisses anti-black violence and racism. Who else is perplexed by the #AlllivesMatter hastag/logic? Seriously, it’s like when I explain to a white liberal, the anti-black racism I have experienced, and she responding, “Well, all human beings are discriminated against– some for skin color, some for socio-economic class.” What is it with this addiction to completing disregarding the REALITY that we live in a racial caste system in which non-black people, historically, have fought hard to not be considered as ‘black’ because that is the ‘lowest of the low” and hurts your life chances of happiness and success? Why do I keep on seeing #alllivesmatter hashtags? Gee, what a wonderful way to derail the conversation around the violence of systemic racism and anti-black ideologies that the USA was founded upon and still function within. What a great way to make invisible the the violence of white supremacist system and institutions that even white liberals benefit from, regardless if they are or aren’t one of those ‘bad overtly racist white’ people (because only neo-Nazis and white Tea Party members are the ‘real’ beneficiaries of racism and white supremacy). Instead of diverting the conversation to #alllivesmatter, can we please bring it back to the black feminist queer tenets of #BlackLivesMatter? Can we please not repeat the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s when Black cisgender males became the central figures for the ‘Black experience’ and those most affected by racism? Can white liberalism please not override the original Black feminist queer praxis that Garza wants the movement to operate within?
Please let me know if I’m hallucinating here?
Recently, I joined forces with the FreeMarissaBayArea movement, so I can help to get her our of jail.
And don’t get me wrong. I am not dismissing the pain and hurt of my Black cisgender male victims of police violence. I’m just saying that I see a similar pattern happening again and folk should be aware of the basic goals of the BlackLivesMatter movement and school themselves, if they haven’t already, on what a black feminist queer “black Lives Matter” movement actually SHOULD look like.
Yes, I know there is an intersection of oppressions, but I do not think #alllivesmatters is productive at all, since #BlackLivesMatter started off to address the violence of white supremacist racist violence, at the systemic, structural, and institutional levels that negatively affect BLACK PEOPLE. The audacity for many to co-opt BlackLivesMatter into AllLivesMatters and then obliterate the core objective to dismantle white supremacist violence against all Black Lives has my head spinning. Talk about discursive violence in full effect! And please don’t start talking about how I must be against [cisgender] [straight] Black men and how they have been victims of state violence. If you think that this is what this post is about, then, once again, you have not educated yourself with the core principles of Black feminist queer praxis.
I am hoping that the upcoming Sistah Vegan conference, “The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'”, will show participants what the core principles of Garza’s movement can look like amongst Black vegans and allies who ‘get it’ and don’t dismiss it.
Also, here is a recommended reading list if you would like to know what Black feminisms are (there is more than one).
Recommended Reading List (English)
- Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Routledge Classics)
- Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–1980
- Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender
- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
- Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred (Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe)
- From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism (Politics History & Social Chan)
- Disability and the Black Community
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness(Great book, but I acknowledge that using the term ‘colorblind’ is ableist and wish post-racial would be used instead. ‘Blind’ assumes those who are blind are incapable of understanding racial power dynamics and/or are incapable of being anti-racist activists)
- Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation
And please post comments on new suggestions!