Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Message To Black Lives Matter

Civil Rights Activism is tricky it takes courage to challenge the status quo and change social parameters. Far too many of your contemporaries see your efforts as crass, and your motivation as self serving. It will probably be 10 years before the critics understand your movement, and 20 years before the establishment tries to rebuild the images of you they're currently tearing down.  I support the measures you've used to keep your message from being ignored by the corporate media. #blackbrunch, die-ins, blocking traffic, and even hijacking political events have all been effective. My message to you is to continue practicing the kind of non threatening passive violence that has kept your movement relevant for over a year. Passive aggression takes longer, but what other options do you have? There are militant voices on the edges of your movement calling for an escalation that has the potential of starting an unwinnable war. Anyone who tries to convince you that armed insurrection should be part of any strategy to resolve the problems you're articulating is trying to co-opt your movement. 

When I talk to young brothers and sisters about Black Lives Matter they're full of excitement, but very few really know what to expect from the movement. Some are looking for inspiration and purpose: your movement gives them something positive to belong to. Some are looking for marching orders: they understand the social and economic realities they face, but they don't know what to do about it. While others in your movement just want some souvenirs and a story to tell. The reality is: many of you supporters will be disappointed. It's easier to assemble a group of like minded people in a city to hear a message than it is to turn that message into a sustained movement in our communities. Social movements are hard. Social media might be the best and worst things to happen to Civil Rights. Technology has made getting a message out easier, but too many members of this generation are keyboard activists. Once they share or retweet a message they feel like their job is done. BLM needs more sandwich board activists. 

The boycott is a perfect nonviolent violent weapon I would like to see phased into your overall strategy, but the reality is: I don't know what your strategy is. What's the overall goal? Are you seeking federal legislation to create a national register for law enforcement infractions? Are you committed to the decriminalization of soft drugs, Are you calling for a stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending? The underlying causes of inner-city crime and over policing need to be rectified, but we need to do the harder work of changing the perceptions of blackness. I agree: Black Lives Matter, but what's next? I'm 6'1 and 235 lbs I know all to well how to move docilely through society. The reality is: no piece of legislation is going to make me any less threatening to someone who has weaponized my black skin. I salute the progress you've made in a short time. You have our attention, but what's the next move?