Monday, November 2, 2015

'Other' Black Lives Matter

Photo of the leaders of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza (left), 
Opal Tometi (center) and Patrisse Cullors (right) is from here

In a recent exchange with S Baldwin, here on the blog, SB pointed out that in addition to Black men's lives, and those of Black male youth, there are other lives that also don't matter as far as mainstream media outlets are concerned: those of Black women and Black girls.

What is not new is that Black women's lives get subsumed in the lives of others who are oppressed and systematically killed. "Black people", too often, are sexistly assumed to only be "Black men". In too many dominant social spaces, trans people of any gender are assumed to be white.

All the Women are White, all the Blacks are Men... comes to mind.

I have had the great honor to hear Alicia Garza speak. To me, she is a solid example of "a great leader". She is also the kind of leader the white and male supremacist mainstream, in media or out of it, will unlikely acknowledge as such. Media doesn't like shared titles. Media likes 'the' leader. But Alicia speaks inclusively, which is in itself rare among white progressives or male radicals. She speaks of all the people, past and present, who art part of political struggles. Keeping with that tradition is not conducive to the Great White Male Leader narrative. Alicia speaks of the leadership and purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement, here:

An excerpt:
It's really hard for people to wrap their heads around a movement that is full of leaders. That's how our homes work; that's how our communities work; that's how our workplaces work, whether or not we want to talk about it. We're just trying to reflect our own realities. We're trying to create more pathways for more people to participate and engage. If we want a full democracy in this country, we can't just have people following one person. Everyone has to feel like they have a stake in shaping the kind of world that we live in. Otherwise, we get into a situation like the one that we're living in now, where nobody's happy with the leadership that we're getting.  -- Alicia Garza

Here are some links detailing the atrocities. There are many and there are not enough, but few of them come from the white male mainstream.

I have thought often about the fact--to me a truthful one--that whites and men cannot lead us--the whole us--anywhere that is radically life-affirming and justice-bringing.