I am glued to CNN today watching the coverage on the latest action by the #Blacklivesmatter activists. And I have thoughts on this. Unpopular, shitstorming thoughts. I’m going to share them. Please brace yourself.
I would like to begin by saying I like that they are disrupting. It is an essential step in agitation. I know some think it is rude and counterproductive. I too find it rude. But think on that for a moment. Rude is disruptive. Disruption is the point. It’s called “agitating” for a reason. To agitate within a civil movement is to stir others into action, to wake people up, and to get them to join ranks in advocating for civil change. Can it be done better? I dunno. How does one judge an act of disruption in polite society? Can it be counterproductive. Well this brings me around to my unpopular opinion. Lets get ready to rumble...
I think I’ll skip the conventional essay format here and go with point form. Makes it easier for you to read what I think before you call me all the names in the book:
Points for PR - I cannot say enough in regards to getting #Blackvoices heard. That the activists are not only getting main stream media attention but keeping it is amazing. I don’t mean that as condescending I mean that in the sense of the news cycle and attention span lasts about 30 seconds. So it is no small feat to keep and maintain the momentum.
Points for visibility - Again the media savvy, the disruption of political events, the social media presence, the uniform, and the protests. Again, not condescending. This isn’t an easy movement to organize and keep alive in the collective conscience.
Points for message - Simple. Succinct. Profound. It keeps reality squarely in the face of the public, prevents collective amnesia, and makes sure we know the simple truth. Black lives are under attack and we cannot forget it.
Minus for creating a path - What do I mean? Okay, we know the bottom line is to have police held accountable and to prevent further murder or harassment of black men, women, and children. That is clear. But how? What can the federal and state government do? What legislative or legal changes or additions need to be made? Beyond no more murder at the hands of authority figures. What is the path to change? Who is accountable? Who must participate? What do they participate in? What are they accountable for? How do we measure success? How do we implement? What needs to be discussed? What is the forum for discussion? Who participates in the discussion?
Minus for no demands - Where is the list of demands? Where is the manifesto? Beyond murder and harassment. What does it take for America to see that Black Lives Matter? What does it mean? I want you to think of this in context of the Right, the Tea Party, pro-gun activists etc. They don’t just have a slogan. The have a set of demands and cohesive mission. The use similar visibility tactics but they take it a step further.
Minus for Polish - Oh ho ho we’ve come to a head. Haven’t we? I am going to say it and you may rail and roll your eyes. Know your audience and play to it. Sorry. Call it respectability politics if you like. I’m an old bird and was trained to use the “queen’s English” in polite company. So call me what you want. But I am saying it. I’m watching these brilliant young people on CNN and they are making some salient points but they are failing to answer the questions. They are not pundits. They do not have the media polish required for dealing with these mealy mouthed faux journalists. They are not making demands. They are not owning their audience. You’ve got the media’s attention. This is the bleeding heart, do-gooder liberal crowd. They are well meaning clue less people. They are sheep. So Shepard them.
Additionally these young people are going up against politicians. Tricky waters. Politics is never admitting anything. Ever. Politics is assessing a set demands by the voter base and their benefactors and determining whether they can do it and if it is worth pursuing. So there needs to be a frame work to lay out to these politicians. Votes entice the politicians. Do they or anyone else believe a significant number of votes will be lost if these politicians fail to address #Blacklivesmatter?
Now I am not saying the movement is wrong. It is most certainly right. How can it be wrong? How can anyone argue against it when the stakes are literally life and death? What I am saying is that the movement is half way there. This is an incredible responsibility and a righteous path. But the movement requires political demands both State level and federal. It means forming boards and associate organizations. It also means articulating a clear and decisive path that not only the lambs can get into but politicians can be a part of. That, or just burn shit down. I like the latter really. But clearly, the former is the goal. That said the goal must be defined. The public must know what to advocate for. Authority figures must know what is at stake. It takes many to move society and authority figures in the right direction. So, I’m not cruel enough to suggest that there is some grand failure and that only these activists are the only ones. BUT. They have the media, the audience, the profile and with that kind of attention the time is ripe to lay out demands and to pressure politicians.
Alright. I’m done. I will stop now. I sincerely hope I haven’t given offense and that I have been clear myself.