Updated: Feb 17, 2021
“The American value is built upon freedom. Therefore, black people are advocating for their freedom, their rights. That is American. There is a contradiction in that because the American ideal is built upon freedom but black people are not free.”
The Civil Rights movement was led by those who were fighting primarily for change through legislation because there was so much confidence in the process to re-shape the contours of belonging in the U.S.. They believed they had a right to the Constitution & fought for better jobs, better wages, equal protection of the law. They believed that better jobs would lead to better housing, which would lead to better education, which would lead to better outcomes for their children. The systems are intricately connected. Unfortunately, these legislative changes did not save the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery nor did it lead to prosecution on behalf of their deaths.
Why? Because Anti-blackness still persists today and thus gave birth to the BLM movement. BLM is the focus on direct action at a local level vs. The Civil Rights movement was a focus on legislative changes. For example: BLM brings light to the acts of violence that are inflicted on black communities primarily by reps. of law enforcement. And also, they shine light on the budget priorities of local governments in terms of uneven distribution on policing vs. social justice reforms. This week we explore the similarities & the differences between the two movements and how the fight against racism has evolved over time.
"Anti-blackness is more than just "racism against black people.' That oversimplifies and defangs it. It's a theoretical framework that illuminates society's inability to recognize our humanity."