By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
7.13.16: National – (Politics): Black Lives Matter, as a social justice movement and as language, has cemented its place in the world, but many of its critics, and even those who are relatively indifferent to its in-your-face tactics like interrupting a presidential candidate’s speech to voters, would prefer that any competency other than destroying systems of white supremacy and addressing police violence becomes its claim to fame.
There are those who want the movement, which was founded by a group of queer black women, to combat neighborhood violence among African-Americans – “Why doesn’t Black Lives Matter protest against black-on-black-crime?,” some have pondered out loud, while others assert that, to the activists associated with the controversial chapter-based organization, black lives only matter when its taken by a white police officer – and then there are those critics who believe that the often rowdy protesters should seek employment with local government, either as a lawmaker or, as discussed recently on CNN with Mr. Don Lemon, a police officer.
The manner in which Black Lives Matter receives unsolicited advice from the public is rather unprecedented for the 21st Century. No other advocacy organization, regardless of their competency, mission, or polarizing image, has been so consistently and publicly scrutinized and told by its vocal critics to pursue goals other than what those who founded the entity deem urgent.
More than just de-constructive criticism, the way that Black Lives Matter is almost always undermined by the pundit and political class, who are made visible and audible by the cable news industry, is a blatant disregard for unconventional black thought and black leadership.
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All other advocacy organizations, like PETA, Greenpeace and the NAACP, are clear in their mission statement and their work is on brand; to challenge these entities to dramatically alter their focus to appease the populous – “Why don’t those working to cure AIDS instead aim to mitigate breast cancer,” said no one, ever – would be seen as the proverbial cardinal sin. But so easily do members of the public and the news media encourage Black Lives Matter to abandon their radical racial justice stance and adopt a position that’s more inclusive and less threatening to the establishment and the status quo.
Black Lives Matter, despite their sometimes controversial activities, deserve the same autonomy when strategizing to achieve its objectives as their contemporaries, and to suggest or advocate for the opposite would, in fact, be un-American. The young black and brown activists of Black Lives Matter who fight for justice in the name of Mr. Alton Sterling, Mr. Philando Castile, Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown, Mr. Eric Garner, Ms. Sandra Bland, Ms. Natasha McKenna and others, are exercising the same First Amendment right as those who protest in the name of deforestation and climate change – is blocking a highway really anymore disorderly than chaining one’s self to a tree to halt the bulldozing of woodlands?
The real question isn’t why Black Lives Matter doesn’t address black-on-black crime, which in itself is misunderstood and misdiagnosed, but why is the public so comfortable with their attempts to undermine the youthful movement? Ironically, the more Black Lives Matter’s identity and ideology is questioned and critiqued, the more it becomes clear, without the group having to point it out, that the dominant culture and its puppeteers are always seeking to cripple black liberation.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
About Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
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