You scream out Black Lives Matters, and you’re guaranteed to hear someone scream, All Lives Matter. So which one is it? Do Black Lives Matter or do All Lives Matter? If they all matter, then why is All Lives Matter used to discredit Black Lives Matter? In the letter to his son, Coates presents why Black Lives should but don’t Matter in America. “It is truly horrible to understand yourself as the essential below of your country. It breaks too much of what we would like to think about ourselves, our lives, the world we move through and the people who surround us” (p. 106)
Q. How does the “essential below” concept from Coates inform the BLM/ ALM debate? – JA
This photo taken during Baton Rouge protests has been called Lady Liberty + the Muse of BLM
What does this image evoke in you? What does it say about protest? About BLM movement?
Ieshia Evans shares her perspective:
What is BLM?
“Pro black is not synonymous with anti-white or anti-cop”
“We affirm that all black lives matter”
Q. What stance does BLM take on gay, queer and trans identity? According to the article, and their founding website, what is meant by “all black lives matter”? And why would this distinction need to be made?
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a co-founder of the AAFP said, “We don’t have existing frames to understand and talk about black women. If people don’t have a frame, they forget the facts…we have to include women in that to make sure that all the ways that black bodies are victimized by police are part of our demands and part of the reform.” Use the social media guide to analyze the images of the Twitter #sayhername movement; place this analysis in context of the all black lives matter philosophy and what it means for the movement and for police reform.
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Q. What is the argument or stance behind the poster in the cartoon? How does this fit in with the BLM/ ALM debate?
Coates on ‘Black-on-black’ crime
“ ‘Black-on-black crime’ is jargon, violence to language, which vanishes the men who engineered the covenants who fixed the loans, who planned the projects, who built the streets and sold red ink by the barrel…The plunder of black life was drilled into this country in its infancy and reinforced across its history, so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting” (p. 111).
“There is the burden of living among Dreamers, and there is the extra burden of your country telling you the Dream is just, noble, and real, and you are crazy for seeing the corruption…For their innocence, they nullify your anger, your fear, until you are coming and going, and you find yourself…really inveighing against your own humanity and raging against the crime in your ghetto, because you are powerless before the great crime of history that brought the ghettos to be” (p. 106). Q. What is this “great crime of history’ that Coates refers to you in both quotes?
Q. Why do people believe that BLM movement is ‘inherently racist’?
Role of Media
Start the class of with a debate on do #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter Have each student pick a side, and have them explain why they support or disagree with either side.