Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter, Bernie Sanders, and Sue Monk Kidd

In the never ending saga of the left eating its young, a Progressive conference hosting Bernie Sanders was interrupted by activists under the aegis of  #BlackLivesMatter, Seattle chapter.  They were peeved with Bernie for the way he handled #BlackLivesMatter activists last month at Netroots' conference in Phoenix.

Their point is that, although pursuing economic justice is a worthy goal, black folks are worrying about more basic things - the safety of themselves and their children in a culture of systemic racism, the consequences of which are meted out by those blessed with white privilege.

It's not an easy thing to consider, especially if you, as I, have thought we've been on a path toward a post-racial America.  We have an African-American POTUS.  Religion, race, country of origin don't seem to figure into the descriptions my children provide of their friends and acquaintances, at least in the same way that they did in my day. Ben Carson's race was never mentioned.

And that, perhaps, is the point.

Without recognizing this as the central issue facing our country today, #BlackLivesMatter says that all other conversations are irrelevant.

Perhaps you would like to argue the point.  It's America, so feel free.  But let me offer you a bit of reading material before you form an opinion.  Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Invention of Wings, telling the story of Sarah and Angelina Grimke.  Three quarters of the book brings them from children in a slave holding family to nationally touring spokeswomen for the Abolitionists.... until the men in charge decide that it's unfeminine and unseemly and detrimental to The Cause for females to speak in large, public arenas.

Step aside, girls.

Uh, no, I don't think we will.

The Grimkes said it in the 1800's - freedom is only freedom if it's freedom for everyone. They linked racial and gender equality.

It's an argument worthy of attention.


  1. I've been out of the loop at the beach; so I haven't been following anything that's going on. It's good to be disconnected. However, I will check out the Grimke women book. It sounds riveting and so on point--even for today.

    Missed you!

    Megan xxx

    1. Stay away from the madness as long as you can, Megan <3 Enjoy those kiddies and the sand and the surf and the raindrops <3

  2. I was upset with the disruption of Bernie's event because what he speaks to-- economic inequality would help black lives as well as everyone else. I hate these causes like black lives matter because they take all the oxygen out of a room for a certain group and Bernie cannot win without the middle. When his event, where he was asked to speak about social security (which helps all ethnicities) and it's disrupted who wins? I will tell you-- the right who say see he cannot control anything and we need someone who can. Everybody needs to speak to the middle because Bernie would get the ones who support black lives matter. Trump will get those who don't much care but see power being corrupted. What this country needs is someone who cares about economic inequality and yes, fairness to all based on laws not skin color. But disrupting Bernie might've made those people feel empowered but it's like Occupy awhile back. What good did it do besides maybe cost the left the midterm?

    1. What it did was bring focus to the cause, even if just for a moment. I hate them taking the oxygen out of a room (fabulous metaphor... I do love how you write) too, and I am angry with the disruption from a politeness point of view but I wish... oh, how I wish, he had not sounded so tone deaf. It worries me that he doesn't have a good answer (cf Kasich on lgbt marriage/love). It worries me for our nation, and for him.

      Listening to the women who started #blacklivesmatter (at BlogHer this year) was transformative. I agree with everything you say about economic inequality. Their point is that it's not safe to drive to work, or move and get ready to start a new job (cf Sandra Bland). The fear was palpable. Frightening. Worth listening to.... and being prepared to answer.

  3. I can always count on you to make me feel like -- maybe, just maybe -- I've managed to land on the correct side of an issue. :) Thank you so much for this post!

  4. Reading Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Illuminates my mind, shreds my heart. Baldwin and Lorde changed my life and understanding long ago. Coates is bringing me to a level of understanding the experience of being black in America that I never imagined possible. Well worth a time out to read now. The whole analysis of politics, economics, education shifts.


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