Anyone who has come to our programs or heard me spit one of my pieces feels how deeply I am moved to action by the countless murders by police officers, yet highly skeptical of the “Black Lives Matter” so-called movement. I say so-called because I really don’t see it moving much. Many like me have this healthy skepticism and if you don’t, well your probably not paying close enough attention to the “movement” of money. I usually don’t have such a critical approach on the subject when engaging in serious conversation about the matter but at this point my frustrations have reached an all time high and I’m just going to go in.
For a long time it didn’t bother me that I was grouped into this slogan because I was like, “hey, this is a great thing! People are talking about it, many are united on it, I mean how can you not respect it… Do you NOT think black lives matter?” The reason why it has such a compelling guise is because it actually did come from the pits of the grass roots and resonated with so many angry and confused people who probably never had any critical “racial” dialogue before this sparked. I mean honestly, we really didn’t have much discussion, especially not on the mainstream prior to this outcry from the streets.
Things were already destined to take a turn for the worst when the narrative was stripped from the hands of the people and paraded, skewed and eventually led by the very same dominant power structure the outcry targeted. We always talk about the Panthers, clearly without really doing critical assessment of the black power movement or how it was infiltrated because it’s like they took a cue straight out of J Edgar Hoover’s diary! How could we not see a conflict of interest when the media is the main spokesperson for said movement?
As I already mentioned, it came as a reaction so there couldn’t have been a strategic, organized plan for the future outcome. I’m sure those who actually ignited the flame (definitely not those who were paraded by the establishment) didn’t even expect it to catch on like wild fire. Reactions aka mobilization is easy; strategic action aka organization is the challenge. Unity being the first call-to-action, we should probably stop saying we are a community and actually work to create commUNITY in our neighborhoods.
My main concern about this narrative of Black Lives Matter is, well what does that mean? What does that call for? I know many of those who I’ve marched through the city with know damn well its bigger than just corrupt cops and changes in legislation, like body cams for example that literally only desensitized people further. Many I’ve met with and coordinated with know its not a matter of reform when we’re dealing with a global system that is hell bent on destroying the natural world, the original peoples, and of course anyone who stands in the way, no matter the casualties… So why are we still out there yelling Black Lives Matter?
I was well aware before I stepped foot at my first protest 2 years ago that marching wasn’t going to be the end all. However, I’ve always acknowledged its necessity and respected the spirit that pushes and fuels that aspect of resistance. It’s the message out there that I have a problem with. It’s the agents and provocateurs that I have a problem with. It’s the fact that I don’t see enough people who look like me, who live on my block or in the projects out there, that’s what bothers me! As the great ancestor Dr. Frances Cress Welsing always reminds us that we should always QUESTION EVERYTHING… “Well WHY is that?”, I wondered.
The more I studied, the more I meditated, the more work I did in the neighborhoods around me, from Bedstuy to Brownsville, the more clearly I realized that this was not only a step backward, but a total reverse in the direction from the path those freedom fighters before us were on. But I also realized it shows where we are as a people, as a society that we’d even be that far from where we were in terms of so-called race relations. Again, I must explain that I say so-called because the fuel of “white supremacy” is the entertainment of the illusion of race that was created itself by white supremacists aka the government lol to justify enslaving Africans. I won’t elaborate here on that but this sista actually covers most of my sentiments on the matter of this “race” fallacy in her video, “Never forget: White supremacists created race”.
My dis-ease here is reminiscent of how I view our all too common use of the identity, “people of color”. Like wtf? How did we go from fighting for our original African identity that was violently stripped away from us, to identifying ourselves by terms and phrases that are rooted inferiority? I mean I know why, but think about it, wtf is a colored person? Someone who is not white, fair to say? Takes me back to segregated water fountains when I hear it, but again it shows how much we’ve backtracked from the days of the human rights movement Malcolm sparked. I’ve digressed, but I will absolutely elaborate on this in a later post because cultural identity is a foundational issue we must address in order to liberate ourselves.
So again I ask: BLACK LIVES MATTER? Do they matter in our disgusting school, welfare and foster care systems? Do “black lives matter” in the overall injustice system when the survivor isn’t murdered by police officer but instead condemned in massive numbers to a dehumanized life of rape, degradation, slave labor, toxic food and biological testing? Do we matter when our neighborhoods are systemically gentrified? How about when we live in inhabitable housing developments, shelters or are homeless? Do so-called black people working for petty wages at the bottom of the legal labor food chain matter? Does it matter that the food and water is literally poisoning us and distorting our body chemistry? Does it matter when our people are in a cycle of sexual abuse and confusion as children are molested, men and women raped, and abortions killing more of us than all of that COMBINED? The epic levels of cultural appropriation, from our historical legacy being “white-washed” to our locs being attributed to Japanese sub-culture, clearly illustrates that our cultural identity doesn’t matter so I won’t even ask about that one.
My point is, there are so many issues! Therefore there are so many solutions! They can begin with you getting uncomfortable and changing what is in your power to change. If you can’t think of one thing you can directly do then you really need to get your life – that’s ONE. We may not be at a point where we’re organized to the level we need to in order to combat the imperial forces against us, but we can stop being victims who are herded around by the mass media and social media campaigns. Posting hashtags is cool, but what are you doing in your neighborhood. Do you even live in your hood? Focusing on one tentacle of the problem is part of the problem. Band-aid’s are cool too, but we need holistic responses to this multi-dimensional war. Let’s acknowledge that “racial matters”, police brutality and murder particularly are a market now. A market lacking substance and a revolutionary approach… maybe I’ll coin it the Black Lives Matter Industrial Complex lol. Face it, the revolution will not be televised, so please stop saying that shit.
Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.
Yes, we can use Black Lives Matter to our advantage… so how? Please feel free to share your thoughts on how. If you’re mad and not here to build, this isn’t the space for you.
Video links shared in blog:
Importance of Education before ACTION explained by Fred Hampton of Black Panther Party HERE
Why we need to ask WHY explained by Dr. Francis Cress Welsing of Isis Papers (08:11) HERE
Brief history on race shared by Malaika Jabali HERE
Mobilization vs Organization broken down clearly by Kwame Toure aka Stokely Carmicheal of SNCC (08:45) HERE