Written Task 2: Critical Race Theory Essay

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


Start simple. No CRA's this time. 12th.

Submitted: January 06, 2018

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Submitted: January 06, 2018

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Whose Lives? A Critical Look at the Racial Activist Movement

 

It started as a moment, and thrived into a movement. Born out of the death of a young African-American male named Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter has since expanded its activist movement through the use of slogans, apparel, protests and demonstrations in order to advocate against police brutality, racial profiling, and racial inequality that is most prevalent in the American justice system. Behind these topics lies a constant narrative that BLM ultimately stands against: white supremacy. Therefore, their methods for defending their beliefs must be equally persistent in disrupting these power structures. Such is the case with one clothing item, a shirt with the words, “Black Lives Matter” written across the front and sourced from Amazon, that completely disrupts the white supremacist narrative by eponymyzing their slogan as a statement. Providing implicative imagery that promotes fortitude and tenacity in an otherwise minority group, and overall cohesion designed to break racial barriers and unify supporters.

 

The seller of the shirt, a user named Old Glory, began offering the clothing item on December 2nd, 2014, approximately one year after the advent of Black Lives Matter. It is a shirt of a custom design, and predominantly features the eponymous words, “Black Lives Matter” on the front in bold white lettering. This design choice is used as a device to bring attention to the shirt, and, perhaps more meaningfully, to the matter at hand. For example, if someone who was wearing the shirt were to be photographed doing so, the slogan on the clothing would make for a more visually-appealing method of promoting the message, as opposed to a sign or smaller wear. Symbolically, as the text is white against a black shirt, this proves antithetical towards describing the racially-charged matters at hand as a, “black and white issue.” As the shirt is used to promote the message, and since the message stems back to protesting racial inequality, the shirt disrupts white supremacy by forefronting the logo, and making the text evident, both to supporters, and counter-protesters, who could arguably be seen as the tangible portrayal of white supremacy.

In addition to the lettering on the shirt, the front of the clothing also features a closed fist, colored red and placed directly underneath the word ‘matter.’ The use of a fist implies a fortitude within the organization, and can be taken to believe that those who participate in the movement by choosing to actively wear the shirt strongly believe in the matters that they protest, and are therefore stronger together. Furthermore, the use of the color red can symbolically represent blood, which would refer to both the deaths of the unarmed African-American males killed by police, and anger of the community outraged by the occurences of the former, who then channeled that same emotion into sustaining their protest against racial inequality and systemic oppression. Thus, the fist and the color red on the shirt disrupt the value of white supremacy, as it depicts the activist movement as a strong-willed, tenacious group who look to bring about a racially and socially equal shift for members of the African-American community, who have traditionally suffered under white supremacy, into the balance.

 

The ultimate goal of the shirt is, as mentioned before, to bring awareness to the issues being protested by Black Lives Matter, to justify their campaign with clothing, and to unify a community that has traditionally suffered under the power structure of white supremacy. Therefore, it is the latter sense of cohesion among the aforementioned community that has proven to be the biggest disruption to white supremacy. The organization of Black Lives Matter appeals to more than just African-American persons, and instead invites all walks of life in the effort to protest the matters they see as the greatest detriment to Black America as a result of white supremacy. Since BLM supporters are composed of a good deal of identifying-white Americans, and, in turn, many of these same white Americans choose to show their support through the use of slogans, chants, protests, and the wearing of shirts such as the text, this unity between races completely disrupts white supremacy, under which the latter believes that no racial equality could ever occur against a system that would otherwise benefit a significant portion of white America. Therefore, the solidarity that Black Lives Matter and methods such as a supporter shirt provide completely disrupt the white supremacist narrative.

 

Essentially, the supporter shirt performs its function, by eponymyzing their name as a statement boldly, providing implicative imagery that promotes fortitude and tenacity in an otherwise minor organization, and overall integrity designed to break racial barriers and unify supporters. In doing so, Black Lives Matter, or in a sense, any person who owns and actively promotes the shirt, completely disrupts white supremacy, and the narrative that all races are inferior, in particular black Americans. Therefore, according to Critical Race Theory, the text also completely disrupts any and all values associated with the power structure, such as racial inequality, discrimination, unequal opportunities, and overall hierarchical tendencies in society. Thus, the final take away from Old Glory, Black Lives Matter and the two formers’ shirt is to educate ourselves, and therefore make the decision on whether a generational opportunity such as this is truly worth the cause. Being simple in its approach, the first step towards belief in an equal future is quite possibly as modest as buying the shirt, and choosing to wear it. Just like Black Lives Matter did, it can all start with a moment.

 

Text (Not an advertisement): https://www.amazon.com/Black-Lives-Matter-Adult-T-Shirt/dp/B00QXVU78A

 


















 

 

 


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