It has been a year of the constant barrage of the phrase “Black Lives Matter!” We hear it during protest marches and see it on the floors and fields of professional sporting events. The phrase is plastered on these damnable masks we are forced to wear. I walked by a clothing stare to see dozens of articles of clothing with the slogan emblazoned on them. I have a question I would like to present to you.
Please do not misunderstand me, the sentiment that Black Lives Matter is of course true and important. Being a Black person of course I believe my life matters as well as the lives of my family and community. What pricked my spirit today was the fact that everything that is important about me and my community has been trivialized down to a slogan. And the more a slogan is used the less meaning it has over time.
To be frank to see some 14 year old white girl wearing sweatshirt with Black Lives Matter on it screams of virtue signaling. There is no depth there. There is no historical understanding of the continuing plight of Black people in America. She is wearing the shirt to be cool. And maybe that should not bother me, but is does.
I have deep problems with the organization that is BLM and those that fund it. Which is why I have always been suspect of their methods and manner. This use of a phrase that on the surface most people agree with without exploring is a sneaky underhanded approach to ward off any investigation into the organization. In the very same way as the “Save The Whales” campaign did a number of years ago. So if you disagreed with the organization, you were framed as someone that wanted Whales to go extinct. There was no room for context or nuance. Honest discussion was not allowed. Save The Whales period! The same methodology is being used with Black Lives Matter. There can be no discussion of the organization or those that riot and kill in the name of the phrase. For some it is either Black Lives Matter, or they don’t. Save The Whales, Black Lives Matter are the continuation of George Orwell’s Newspeak. Just keep saying it until you don’t question it anymore.
How can that be accomplished? By turning the phrase into a slogan. Something that is a marketable phrase that is easy to spell and pronounce. “Where’s The Beef?!” comes to mind. “Just Do It”, “Finger Lickin’ Good” these slogans all have something in common, they are simple. That simplicity makes it easy to share and to market.
But do I want the entirety of my life, struggles, accomplishments, failures, safety boiled down to a catchy tagline? I don’t.