The need to respond to Black Lives Matter with anything other than: yes, unequivocally, is evidence of where Anti-Blackness lives.
There is a deep discomfort with acknowledging our humanity without a caveat or a qualifier or a “only if this is met first” and even then it’s a false negotiation. “All Lives” Blue Lives” are both responses that are more focused on disproving than affirming. It’s meant to start an argument because what’s being unsaid is that Black Lives don’t matter enough to have a moment of uninterrupted recognition. If you believe in either sentiment than you should have no issue with the fact that Black Lives Matter. In theory, both sentiments hold space for that truth. The fact that they are often leveraged as disproving alternatives tells you everything you need to know about their aim.
Black Lives Matter.
There is no disagreement. There is no need to interrupt or add anything else. There is no equivalency when the sentiment was created to amplify and address the ongoing and extensive harm experienced by a specific group of people. The impulse to change the subject or broaden the parameters of the discussion speaks to how uncomfortable the collective is with affirming Black Lives. This impulse is rooted in scarcity and white supremacy. In the idea that unequivocally loving Black People takes something from someone else. I reject that narrative.
In turn, we are presented with a choice; are we able to center Black people in a conversation about Black people or not? The NFL protests ask us to make that same choice. When you evoke Black Lives Matter to affirm a different group of people, using the same language, then you are making that choice before the conversation even begins.
We either hold space for the truth that Black Lives Matter, or we don’t.
There is no in-between.
Words in the image from my poem “Love and Black Lives Matter,” click here to read.