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Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's response

Matata

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Be sure to click on link to full letter. It's just too good not to share and pertinent to discussions here where some have expressed discomfort/confusion with the Black Lives Matter movement. AGBF, I thought of you when reading the professor's response, knowing how much you appreciate sound logic and good grammar :wavey:

http://usuncut.com/black-lives-matter/law-professor-black-lives-matter-shirt/
 

AGBF

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

Matata|1468106948|4053761 said:
Be sure to click on link to full letter. It's just too good not to share and pertinent to discussions here where some have expressed discomfort/confusion with the Black Lives Matter movement. AGBF, I thought of you when reading the professor's response, knowing how much you appreciate sound logic and good grammar :wavey:

http://usuncut.com/black-lives-matter/law-professor-black-lives-matter-shirt/
Matata-

Your link did not work for me, so I looked the story up and read the letters elsewhere. If others have trouble with the link, too, perhaps you should repost.

I thought the professor's reply to her students was brilliant. I really, really wish that I could write and think the way that she does! Thank you for sharing that.

Deb :wavey:
 

arkieb1

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

I read the whole thing, what a beautifully thought out answer. Sadly I bet a white male probably from an entitled background who clearly just doesn't get it wrote the complaint in the first place.
 

monarch64

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

How very typical for people NOT of color to make everything all about themselves. :rolleyes: Love the professor's response.
 

Matata

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

monarch64|1468117635|4053818 said:
How very typical for people NOT of color to make everything all about themselves. :rolleyes: Love the professor's response.
Monnie, the letter was anonymous so no one knows the race of any of the students. There are black people also who don't support BLM. I did enjoy the righteous indignation of the students, so sure of their reasoning. I think they identified the problem of the alleged low law school graduation rates at that institution -- it obviously needs to tighten its admission standards. :bigsmile:
 

redwood66

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

I think by not denouncing violence committed in their name they are passively inciting it. Much the same as my view of President Obama and Loretta Lynch for the same thing.
 

Calliecake

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

redwood66|1468121090|4053852 said:
I think by not denouncing violence committed in their name they are passively inciting it. Much the same as my view of President Obama and Loretta Lynch for the same thing.
I've listened to Obama speeches. He is no way inciting violence. Are you listening to Obama or Fox News interpretation?
 

redwood66

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

Calliecake|1468122638|4053869 said:
redwood66|1468121090|4053852 said:
I think by not denouncing violence committed in their name they are passively inciting it. Much the same as my view of President Obama and Loretta Lynch for the same thing.
I've listened to Obama speeches. He is no way inciting violence. Are you listening to Obama or Fox News interpretation?
Please read what I wrote.
 

JaneSmith

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

Heh, I liked that a lot. Thanks.
 

missy

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

I love the professor's response. It was perfect. I didn't like that the letter to her was anonymous.
The professor put the student(s) in their place LOL. :read:







JaneSmith, you were right about my post in the other thread. I was being naive and it is my fault entirely. I wasn't tuned into the whole movement (and shame on me for not being aware or caring enough to become aware before this) and thank you for sharing this with me in the other thread allowing me to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hope it is OK to share this here.

https://neverallowedtoconclude.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/if-all-lives-matter-why-is-my-shirt-bothering-you/


If All Lives Matter, Why Is My Shirt Bothering You?

Written by Nate Reisinger
never
trust anyone
who says
they do not see color.
this means
to them,
you are invisible. Nayyirah Waheed

Since the death of Michael Brown, our country has been embroiled in one of the most sustained national debates about race and racism since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This debate seems to have crystallized into two mantras. One side insists “Black Lives Matter” while the other side retorts, “All Lives Matter.” I can’t help but notice that both sides of the debate believe not only that they are on the side of justice and equity, but that their opponents are not.

A few weeks ago, while visiting some college friends in Richmond, VA, I set out to try and provide some clarity to this debate. I packed my “Black Kids Matter” t-shirt and prepared for a social experiment.



The Saturday that I chose to wear the shirt, we took a sampling tour of some of Richmond’s local breweries, ate dinner, spent time at my friends’ house in The Fan (a predominately young, white, and affluent neighborhood), and then headed out to experience some nightlife. This plan entailed a trip through a variety of privileged spheres where whiteness and wealth dominated. People of color were the exception in every environment we encountered, and I anticipated mixed reactions when I inserted a shirt that “made a political statement” (as one of my friends asserted) into this sea of privileged conformity.

I can honestly say I was unprepared for what I actually experienced.

Specifically, in fourteen hours, I met only a single white person who responded positively to my shirt. I met him at 1:45 A.M., and he was decidedly inebriated. Literally every other white person that reacted to my shirt reacted negatively, usually in one of three ways: visible anger, clear discomfort, or attempted suppression. Allow me to give a clarifying example of each of these:

1) “f*ck that shit.”

I was seated at a table when he walked in. He saw me instantly, pointed to get the attention of his friend, waited for his friend to look at my shirt and turn back, and audibly (though not directly to me) said, “f*ck that shit.”

2) *Chuckles Nervously*

I was walking past his table when he stopped me. “Hey,” he smiled, continuing, “Can I read your shirt?” I stopped, faced him, and spread my arms so that he could read the six word message: “Black Kids Matter. What’s Your Purpose?” His face crinkled, he looked back into my eyes, said, “Ok,” laughed, and shook his head back and forth as he leaned back in his chair.

3) “Please Don’t Wear That Out”

Immediately upon seeing my shirt, before saying or doing anything else, she said, “Please don’t wear that out.” I asked why not, and she reiterated, “Just, please…don’t.” I asked again why not and she resignedly said, “I mean, it’s fine, whatever.” I asked if the shirt made her uncomfortable, and she said, “No, I’m not uncomfortable. It’s just…interesting.” Our mutual friend asked where the shirt was from and I told her. A brief discussion of the spray-painting of “Black Lives Matter” on a nearby Confederate monument followed, but the three of us did not discuss the shirt further.

Anger, Discomfort, and Suppression: The Three Musketeers of White Fragility

It may be tempting as you read those reactions to differentiate between the three responses. It’s tempting to suggest, for instance, that anger is more dangerous or concerning than nervous and dismissive laughter, or that one or more of the reactions aren’t really about race, but actually about…

Stop. If you are reading this post and have already thought, “This isn’t really about race, but…” I’m here to tell you that you are part of the problem.

Consider the mundanity of my shirt. Does any reasonable person disagree with the notion that Black children have value as human beings? That they matter? Of course not. So the reactions (or at least most of them) can’t be because people disagree, right? The negative reaction has to come from somewhere else. If my shirt had merely said Kids Matter, would people have even looked twice? What about All Kids Matter?

Right. It’s the word “Black” that makes it controversial. It’s the word “Black” that makes it “a political statement.” It’s the word “Black” that makes people angry, defensive, or uncomfortable. It’s the word “Black” that I’ve seen too many of my white friends’ tongues tied in knots over. And it’s the word “Black” that means that the backlash against my shirt (and the larger movement the shirt represents) is absolutely about race.

Now, here’s the point where I want to call all three reactions racist. And I’d be right, because they are. But many of us seem to have this Ku Klux Klan, SAE fraternity bus, shouting the N-word definition of racism in our heads. To be sure, all of these are racist, but we might accurately characterize them as white aggression. The acts and groups are overt, direct, and intentional about their discrimination. The type of racism exemplified in white people’s reaction to my shirt (except for our angry man who might fit into the aggression category) is less overt or intentional; the reacting parties probably wouldn’t even consider themselves or their reactions racist. We could characterize these reactions as white fragility. Critical race theorist and pedagogical expert Robin DiAngelo describes white fragility when she says “[white people’s] insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress…” (DiAngelo 2011). In other words, as white people we generally would prefer not to discuss race, would prefer to discuss problems in society without considering a racial aspect, and are often unproductively defensive against the slightest assertion that we might be behaving in a racist manner. It’s white fragility that makes people so much more comfortable with “All Lives Matter,” a slogan that stops short of admitting that Americans are treated and valued differently based on the color of their skin.

But here’s the thing: white fragility isn’t just a current buzz word fad for progressives to talk about at cocktail parties. White fragility is literally killing Americans. Yes, I mean literally. Just as contributory negligence in wrongful death is the tort equivalent of murder, the refusal to actively combat the oppression of Americans of color is the equivalent of complicity in that oppression, which is too often lethal. Of course all kids and all lives matter, but white fragility prevents the people shouting “All” instead of “Black” from considering whether our society actually treats Black people as though they matter. I wonder how many of the people shouting “All Lives Matter” have considered that the certainty of having enough to eat is a privilege kept from over a quarter of Black Americans (compared to just over 10% of their white counterparts). How many are willing to admit that their mostly white high school was better funded, resourced, and staffed than a nearby and mostly Black school, and that this inequity might have contributed to their success more than their hard work ever did? How many will acknowledge that resumés with stereotypically white names are 50% more likely to receive callbacks than stereotypically Black names with the exact same qualifications? Or how that public safety write-up and social probation from college might have meant incarceration or even death if their skin had been darker? I wonder how many of my white friends have watched the dash video of Sandra Bland (or even know who she is)? I wonder how many have watched the body cam video that shows the killing of Sam DuBose and found themselves astonished at how quickly a benign traffic stop can switch to violence or lethality? I wonder how many have tried to understand the fear in which Black people are forced to live only to realize that we can never understand, because police stops disproportionately do not go that way for us? How many are willing to give our livelihoods and even our very lives to eradicate the injustice that takes the lives of our neighbors of color? Because if we aren’t willing to do all of this and more, we are racists, no matter how badly we want to see ourselves some other way.

I just hope we aren’t too fragile to do something about it.
 

Bayek

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

thanks for posting this, I found it brilliant!
 

Bayek

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

Redwood, NO. I cannot really fathom how you wrote what you did. We are inclusive in America (I think).. When Donald Trump says: I'm gonna build a wall! that to me is trying to incite.. I wonder if you are heavily influenced by your former job and you view color and life through that lens?
 

AGBF

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

missy|1468150103|4053918 said:
JaneSmith, you were right about my post in the other thread. I was being naive and it is my fault entirely. I wasn't tuned into the whole movement (and shame on me for not being aware or caring enough to become aware before this) and thank you for sharing this with me in the other thread allowing me to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hope it is OK to share this here.

https://neverallowedtoconclude.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/if-all-lives-matter-why-is-my-shirt-bothering-you/
I just read this article, which I had never seen before. Thank you for posting it. I am inferring that it is originally from JaneSmith. I have already posted my point of view in another current thread about this matter. As I said in that thread, only white people ever say, "I don't see color" or "all lives matter" and other seemingly well meaning things that imply that we all alike and that people of color need no special protection.

That is because only white people fail to see the truth that is right in the faces of people of color: they do have color and it is seen instantly by everyone they meet. It influences the way they are treated by everyone, including the police, who wield the power of life and death over them.

In my opinion, it was really wonderful that you used JaneSmith's comment to learn more about "Black Lives Matter", rather than just to sit back, believing that because you are not a racist and that she was the one in the wrong, that all was said and done. You are awesome. missy.

Hugs,
Deb
 

redwood66

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Re: Black Lives Matter t-shirt complaint; professor's respon

Tekate|1468152880|4053937 said:
Redwood, NO. I cannot really fathom how you wrote what you did. We are inclusive in America (I think).. When Donald Trump says: I'm gonna build a wall! that to me is trying to incite.. I wonder if you are heavily influenced by your former job and you view color and life through that lens?
Don't wonder because I will tell you it is absolutely true - how I view people that is. We are all shaped by our experiences. That does not change the fact that that they do not condemn the violence.

ETA - How could it not shape my view? Really? I worked in a microcosm of the worst people in society. They deserved to be there based on their actions.
 
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