Stop Co-Opting Our Movements and Get Your Own

Featured Image: Financial Times


Black Lives Matter.

Not only is it true, but it’s also the name of a movement. Our movement. Not a trendy bio insert. Because let’s be real for a sec. Most of the people with BLM in their bios are violently anti-Black.

But this isn’t about that. This is about other marginalized groups taking the name and making it their own. I see it all the time. #MuslimLivesMatter. #UyghurLivesMatter. I get it. The annual trend of “buy Black!” and BLM protest posters created to match your IG feed is, like, an overwhelming show of support, right? And while these people do matter and it’s important to raise awareness for them, why do we only show support for these groups off the backs of the Black community? Why is it that we are stolen from even in our grieving and our death? 

Make no mistake. While I do love calling others out for their insensitive and anti-Black BS, I can’t pretend like it doesn’t happen within my community as well. I mean, look no further than “Say His Name”. Talk about gender equality. The Say Her Name movement was created for people like Sandra Bland — the (neglected) female victims of police brutality and anti-Black violence, highlighting specific differences in the ways Black women are affected by racial injustice to the way Black men are. 

An important thing to note because, if Malcolm X had it right, Black women are the least protected and most disrespected people [in America]. And baby, the proof is in the pudding.

Co-opting movements to fit your “activism” isn’t new.

The Me Too movement was for the sistas before white women twisted the message. Gay Pride had people fighting for a “straight pride”. Men tried to turn feminism into something it isn’t, but it already abandoned its roots at the hands of white women. As is the case with most movements, Black women are excluded.

But as old and common as this practice is, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we are still suffering. We are still oppressed by the world. Y’all will still call us monkeys and slaves when you think we won’t hear. And it doesn’t benefit you to steal even our pain from us. The Oppression Olympics are so 2019, and if you don’t know, now you know. 

If you truly care about something, do your research. Do your part to spread awareness without using the Black community like we’re coat racks. Honestly, we deserve better, and so do the people you’re trying to help. We owe them a lot more than a stolen, “yeah, but change it a little” hashtag.

And hey, if you don’t like it, that’s really too bad.

Na'ilah Williams

she/her. black woman. writer. 🤎

Leave a Reply