If you trace the phrase “black lives matter” back to its roots, you find that it was first used as a hashtag on social media posts expressing outrage over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In this context, the phrase very well might have taken the form “black lives matter too,” meaning, like other lives, they are not expendable.
But the phrase evolved from a mere hashtag into a full-blown political movement following by a grand jury’s decision in 2014 not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer accused of killing Michael Brown. Black Lives Matter, now capitalized, took on a new meaning. In the words of Naila Keleta-Mae, an “expert” in race, gender, and theater, the slogan became a battle cry, “defining an era’s fight against institutionalized anti-black racism in the United States and beyond.”
The implication going forward was no longer that black lives matter too. If you dared to suggest that all lives mattered, as one t-shirt maker did briefly, you were called a white supremacist or worse. Old radical notions, such as critical race theory, became new again, and the misguided belief that the nation was founded on systemic or “institutional” racism became commonplace on the Left.
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On Friday, the Black Lives Matter movement finally reached its zenith (or nadir depending on your perspective). BLM and pro-Palestinian activists took to the streets of New York City, where they declared via a chant that “black lives matter” but that “crackers don’t matter.”
Black Lives Matter and pro-Palestinian activists chant “Black lives matter, crackers don’t matter” in New York City. pic.twitter.com/T7k6fC5Mgg
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 21, 2021
I can hardly wait to see what’s next.