Another day, another black life snuffed out into a hashtag by police violence. I mostly don’t comment on #BlackLivesMatter on social media beyond amplifying the voices of black activists.
This is their movement, their time, the most I can usually do is offer support and not get in the way.
One thing I do think that I can say is to answer the use of #AllLivesMatter as a derailing tactic that is designed to defend the status quo.
One of the defining elements of twitter is the 140 character limit, which among other things limits the useful size of a hash tag.
So, we get #BlackLivesMatter instead of what I see in my head whenever that hashtag comes up.
And what I see is (emphasis added): #BlackLivesSHOULDMatterTOOBECAUSERIGHTNOWTHEYDONT.
But you can’t fit that into 140 characters and still have enough room to say something useful.
The converse of this is the additional words missing from #AllLivesMatter, specifically: #AllLivesMatterBUTNOTASMUCHASWHITELIVESANDTHATSFINEBYME.
As I said, it’s a derailing tactic designed to protect the status quo.
Even worse is #BlueLivesMatter which I read as #BlueLivesMatterANDYOURSDONTSOIDONTCAREIFPOLICEKILLYOU.
I’ve been mulling over this post for a while now, and I’ll finish by showing the tweet that inspired me to think along these lines: