Came across this image of a bunch of white women going WAY out of their way to make some tenuous ties to Beyoncé while at the Women’s March yesterday. Also seen this week: large numbers of white protesters wearing all black, including black face masks and gloves –who were shouting “Black Lives Matter” while committing numerous bizarre and awkward acts of destruction – I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Just as no one was fooled into thinking it was actually #BLM committing those rather clumsy acts of violence- NO ONE- and I do mean no one, could possible actually think this protest and march was in any meaningful way connected to the overt or subversive messages in “Lemonade” – specifically “Formation”.
I’ve read a lot of posts on a lot of things about these marches and this protests. I’ve read a lot from many Black women who were very firm in their position that this was not their fight – that cute hats and pithy pussy sayings felt disingenuous – ESPECIALLY coming from a coalition of the electorate that apparently voted overwhelmingly for Trump.
What I’m getting at is this: Black women who have a legitimate claim to being tired of marching (the last four years of unpunished murders alone have kept them rather busy) and who have been largely ignored by the calls to action sounded by “white feminists,” -a phrase which here means “any feminist who cannot be intersectional in their pursuits of justice and equality”– opted out.
So why did it seem appropriate or right to drag Black women’s voices and representation into this mix by housing Beyoncé’s feminists identity and reducing what Black women have claimed as an anthem to a series of costumes and ever more cutesy pithy sayings? This display does not represent the he cultural reaction to the original.
Which brings me back to the faux BLM protesters.
Why? Just why?
I watched about 6 different streams of coverage of the destruction committed by this “mob” and NONE of it was convincing. And what I mean is – outrage has a face. There is an anguish and desperation that leads to the kind of outrage that erupts in violence. That wasn’t it. That looked like a bunch of people ticked off about something looking for targets to destroy to validate and punctuate their ire and a cause on which to pin their ire .
Lemme be clear: “Black Lives Matter” wasn’t that cause. This was not Black outrage. We ain’t smash up that limousine. We ain’t burn a paltry stack of paper in front of Washing Post offices. We ain’t spray paint *IN CURSIVE* on the closed gate of one shop. We ain’t do none of that. In fact, the people who did do that aren’t even mad about what we’re mad about.
I’mma talk to the white people now: You don’t have to chant “Black Lives Matter” for credibility. You can chant “Fuck Trump” or “I’m terrified of losing my health care” or “I don’t know who Jeff Sessions is, but he seems like a REALLY bad idea.” Sure those last two are long and not very catchy, but they’re honest. And while we’re being honest: Rhythmic chants isn’t really your thing anyway.
The ascendency of Darth Cheddar is not really a Black Lives Matter thing. It’s more of a “the whole world is at risk, oh dear God what have we done” thing. When Baltimore- just a stones throw from DC – was burning, and the cops were in riot gear rather than neon traffic vests. you didn’t hop on a bus to scream Black Lives Matter. When Beyonce got dragged for filth by right wingers after she ripped the Super Bowl a new one, you didn’t “get in formation.” So don’t commit random acts of destruction and folly in the name of a cause you could only be bothered to casually hashtag for the past few years. That’s counterproductive, and it damages the BLM narrative, the womanist narrative, and your own.
Sure, protests like these go farther and work better with unity and kumbaya and whatnot, but white folks can have political and social agency on their own, WITHOUT dragging Black people, our causes causes or our themes into it.
There’s a reason many of us didn’t want to be involved or included in this: We didn’t feel represented by the objectives or the original organizers. Our agendas (which would have persisted whether Hillary or Bernie or Barney had taken office) were not represented. And this fight is not at all new to us. Our fights have been against the CAUSE of unchecked social injustice, yours was about the RESULT. So many of us weren’t down. That shouldn’t stop YOU from standing up for what was important to YOU.
And it didn’t.
But absent getting Black people involved, what’d you do? You dragged in the words, images and themes of Pro-Black protest to fortify a protest that is at best marginally friendly to Black people. The protest events of Friday and Saturday were not pro-Black events so why wrap them in pro-Black themes? Unless of course you wanted insulation from the white backlash. Unless of course the rest of the world IS crazy and there aren’t enough safety pins to hold the fabric of this nation together. Then you can wipe of the metaphorical Blackface and step in line with the winning team.
If that is the case, understand this: Neither our struggle, nor our triumph is in service to your agenda. If you want the power of Black progress and outrage on your side, be a collaborator and a co-conspirator, not a co-opter and a Columbus.
Do Better. And I mean it. Get your protest weight up, because that trash fire was…garbage.
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