Understanding Black Lives Matter

I always wondered who was “in charge” of the Black Lives Matter movement. I guess not one single person is. Before reading the article I assumed one would need a face for a movement but Black Lives Matter showed otherwise. Like the article wrote, it “eschews hierarchy and centralized leadership”. Today’s leaders say that the focus on a primary leader like in the 1960s would not work today. But I’m not so sure. I understand that in today’s strategy, having no primary face for the movement shows that they are all equal and in it for change more so than fame. But at the same time, I feel like sometimes it would be helpful to have someone to turn to. The news has covered a few high profile incidents where police shoot and kill black men and every time the tensions flare up and emotions run and we get protests and sometimes riot. But I think there is a difference between a martyr and a leader. A martyr only has a few weeks in the spotlight but a leader can string together these incidents into a continuous and committed movement. The author wrote how perhaps this movement would be more successful if they could move beyond reacting to outrages and begin proactively shaping public policy. It seems like the face of the organization could do both for Black Lives Matter.

I think a leader could take heat for a movement like Black Lives Matter. Whenever one chapter does something controversial or what many think to be controversial, they are lumped together. Like when they protested Bernie Sanders, that seemed to cause a lot of anger in young voters, many of whom supported Bernie and Black Lives Matter. Except now, they resented BLM for creating potential harm to Bernie’s campaign. The next few days the internet plastered a picture of Senator Sanders being arrested during his time as a civil rights activist. It’s understandable what they were doing but they seemed to pick the worst time do it when Trump was on the opposite platform picking up momentum.


One thought on “Understanding Black Lives Matter

  1. The huge problem with having a leader and a face for a movement like BLM is the impossibility of them to be able to represent every walk of life that identifies with it. Within the black community alone we’ve witnessed people from all creeds and upbringings. You can be a strong black male wanting to lead the masses and yet fail to take into account the experiences of a queer black woman. You can be a queer black woman and not be able to accurately represent individuals of mixed races or different ages. Cedric Robinson himself said, “that leadership—the idea that effective social action is determined by a leader who is separate from or above the masses of people—and political order are essentially fictions.” I wrote in my own blog entry that BLM doesn’t need leaders but rather role models like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who lead by example. Black Lives Matter should be a way of life like peace and harmony is a way of life. There is no Peace leader or Harmony Leader but major individuals who act and by acting, inspire future generations. BLM doesn’t need leaders but influencers to the masses.


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