Q: White people wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt or bracelet: Solidarity or appropriation? Trying to make a positive statement in my city, and, yes, maybe start a conversation if it happens, but trying to be sensitive about it. Thanks in advance!
The statement Black Lives Matter is simply a statement demanding that humanity be respected and dignity be restored to black people. We need to join in solidarity and put our whiteness on the line. In today’s climate, anyone wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt seems to be suspect to the police and many white people. Wear your shirt, talk to folks.
Co-founder of “Black Lives Matter” Alicia Garza said in an interview with Fusion reporter Collier Meyerson,
“White lives matter / all lives matter is like saying ‘The sky is blue’ or ‘The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.’ In other words, it is not only obvious and goes without saying that all lives matter, we also know how much white lives matter–particularly when you are not white. White lives are the standards to which people of color are held accountable, and those to which people of color are taught to strive to obtain. And what’s so fascinating about ‘all lives matter’ or ‘white lives matter’ as a response to black people demanding our humanity be respected and our dignity be restored, is that it makes it that much more obvious that white supremacy permeates nearly every aspect of our social, economic and political conditions. In essence, most of the backlash to #BlackLivesMatter is in fact backlash in response to the fear of a black planet–or at least, an increasingly multiracial one where white people will no longer be the majority. Hence, the non-movement to re-establish once again that white lives matter and the hasty substitution of all lives matter for people who really want to say white lives matter.”