Why My Hashtag Will Never Be #AllLivesMatter

     Shouting "All Lives Matter" is an attempt to erase the historical and current institutionalized white supremacy that leaves black people dead in the street every single day. It's an attempt to escape the responsibility of having to examine the climate that has given rise to a need for #BlackLivesMatter, and all other such movements...

 

Shouting "All Lives Matter" is an attempt to erase the historical and current institutionalized white supremacy that leaves black people dead in the street every single day. It's an attempt to escape the responsibility of having to examine the climate that has given rise to a need for #BlackLivesMatter, and all other such movements...

On the Societal Climate Prefacing the Need for Black-centric Movements:

"Do people who say #AllLivesMatter in response to #BlackLivesMatter run through cancer fundraisers screaming: 'THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO!' ...?"

I saw the above on Twitter and couldn't help but appreciate how spot-on this tongue-and-cheek critique was. Insisting that #BlackLivesMatter is exclusionary is refusing to acknowledge the centuries of institutionalized white supremacy which has deemed black lives worthless.

And can we talk for a second about the levels of ignorance and self-absorption that must exist in order to make the very real pain of an entire group of people, about you? In a society where black men, women, AND CHILDREN are being murdered in the street with wanton disregard, #BlackLivesMatter is a call-to-action in demanding recognition of the humanity of people of color.

It's obvious that All Lives Matter. The distinction is that ALL LIVES are not devalued. ALL LIVES are not stripped of humanity. ALL LIVES are not taken with zero regard for justice. BLACK LIVES are. And so, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become necessary, because the messaging from society-at-large speaks a very different truth.

Screaming that "BLACK LIVES MATTER" is a forceful declaration of resistance, a slap in the face of white supremacy, and an empowered fist in the air for a people who have been all but forgotten. Revolution is our right. This is our fight.

"... Except Being Black."

    " I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people, that's uncomfortable. They don't understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine..."  - Lauryn Hill

 

" I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people, that's uncomfortable. They don't understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine..."

- Lauryn Hill

On the fetishizing and appropriation of Black American culture:

Everything about being Black is in... Except actually being black, that is. Full lips. Large backsides. Tanned skin. Protective hairstyles. These features--unappreciated and devalued when present naturally in women of color--are glorified, fetishized, desired and applauded as "exotic" when present on non-women of color. 

From Donna Karan's 'invention' of "slicked-down tendrils" [better known as "baby hair"] during the debut of her Spring 2015 collection; To Kylie Jenner's cornrows...

When white women take on styles and even physical features--lips and backsides, just to name a few--which originate in women of color: These same features--previously ignored and minimized--become beautiful, exotic, desirable... Urban High Fashion.

In the famous words of Amandla Stenberg: "Don't Cash Crop on My Cornrows" ...

As black women, we are expected to be strong. Hard. Tough. Matriarchs. Unbreakable. And while all of these descriptions are ones that I would be proud to embody, I can't help but wonder why we're not also valued for our womanhood. Our vulnerability. Our need for support. Our fragility. Our desire to be loved.

Has the image of the black woman become so hardened by stereotypes that we've been all but forgotten?