I would like to extend a hearty “Congratulations!” to Black Lives Matter on slowly but surely alienating every single one of their allies. A few days ago, Justin Timberlake was “forced” to apologize after a completely innocent tweet in support of actor Jesse Williams’ rant about racial and social justice at the BET Awards.
After this tweet the #BLM (Black Lives Matter, for the hashtag-illiterate) types immediately descended, demanding he stop appropriating black culture and music. When JT suggested “we are all ONE” it further exacerbated the issue. It’s not just JT. Many white Americans have been shouted down after expressing support for #BLM, and even just for sitting there minding their own business, not saying anything.
If we can’t even let a white celebrity tweet out support for the message of a half-white celebrity then we might be doing it wrong.
Heck, even Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been muzzled by the angry #BLM folks. Think about how counterproductive that is: both support #BLM and one of them just may be the president one day! But yes, let’s shame people into public silence. Great plan! That will make it extra exciting when folks start complaining once again about how quiet white people are about the loss of black life.
Great Idea: Shouting at Powerful People
#BLM types don’t seem to understand that black Americans are only 12 to 13 percent of the population of this country, and that white people are still more than 60 percent. Math is hard, but let’s run the numbers on that one. White people are still the majority—a very large majority—and they still dominate the apparatus of justice in this nation. So if you belong to a group that wants to influence that apparatus, you’d better start getting more white people to join you in your cause.
I’m no psychiatrist, but I feel pretty confident that the way to recruit people into a cause or movement isn’t to shame and berate them. That seems counterproductive. (I also find it a delicious irony that we’re complaining about Timberlake’s cultural appropriation over a tweet inspired by a BET Awards speech when Timberlake has been nominated for a BET Award eight times.)
Justin Timberlake did nothing—NOTHING—except support a very passionate message that every last one of the #BLM crowd endorses. For that he was belittled. This man has 55 million Twitter followers, 31 million on Instagram. He has multiple Grammys. He’s an actor, producer, and musician. He has influence.
Should they kiss his ass? No, but how about just say nothing. They don’t have to fall down and thank the heavens that this white man cares about black lives, but they don’t need to make him the devil, either. Just say nothing!
If anyone in the official #BLM had any common sense they’d jump on this opportunity and draft him into the movement so they could piggyback on his considerable social media platform. As a blogger, I am forced to know quite a bit about marketing and packaging a message for maximum results, and that seems like a marketing dream come true. Let the guy use his white privilege for the movement instead of forcing him to skulk away, taking all his money and his platform with him.
We’ve Come All This Way for You to Act Like Idiots?
While it seems likely Timberlake won’t change his personal views on racial unity and social justice, it’s even more likely he’ll simply not say anything from here on out. How long will it be before those same people who berated him start complaining that Timberlake and other white people like him aren’t speaking out enough?
Martin Luther King Jr. and our ancestors did not defeat Jim Crow by isolating themselves and belittling white people who dared to express their unity with the cause. King knew white America had to want our freedom as badly as we did in order to make an impact, and he marched proudly with many white activists. He welcomed white people who took the message of civil rights to their more ignorant brethren across the country.
If you’re part of the official #BLM movement, you may be saying to yourself right now (if you’ve even made it past the headline), “We don’t need a white savior! We don’t need white people to march with us. We need them to sit down and shut up and let us talk!”
If that’s your “strategy,” then good luck with that. You’ve officially forfeited the right to complain about white people not caring enough. The ones that do are shouted down and humiliated. Let them support you or make peace with the fact that you’re officially endorsing segregation.