BLM visits Mizzou, says supporting Constitution is white supremacy
- Ending racism, BLM founder Alicia Garza said, will “take white people, who benefit from this system of white supremacy, to stand up and say, ‘We’re not gonna take it anymore.’”
During an event at Thursday evening #BlackLivesMatter founders Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi told Mizzou students that the goal of the Constitution was to make an agreement between factions known as states, which were built on the backs of black slaves.
Garza and Tometi told students at the University of Missouri that the Black Lives Matter movement arose after what they called, “the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.”
They emphasized that while activism was important, it was also important to “engage in self-care.”
“Because there isn’t that culture of collective care, it becomes up to each individual to figure out how to be resilient in the face of so much trauma we’re facing,” Garza said.
The ills of capitalism were a common thread throughout different points in the guided discussion, with Garza noting at one point that, “What we know about our world is that we depend on each other to survive, and that’s not what our economic system teaches us.”
Capitalism was not the only thing with which Garza and Tometi took issue. Garza also said, “In the Constitution, we are only ? of a person...The people vowing to protect the Constitution are vowing to protect white supremacy and genocide.”
Later, Garza and a man in the audience had a tense exchange. The man asked why many activists don’t see mobilizing the black vote as being important. Garza answered rhetorically by asking why black people were encouraged to vote.
Garza spoke about how black people turned out in record numbers for Barack Obama, and agreed that it was because he was black. She then asked the crowd if they knew what demographic normally turned out in elections. When the majority said that it was old men, she asked who they tended to vote for. The crowd responded with “Conservative” or “Republican.”
The man stated that a person’s vote is the most powerful weapon they have. Garza replied, “I find it curious that we don’t mobilize liberal whites in the same way.”
Her response continued for several minutes, and when the same man asked if he could have another question, and the majority of the crowd let out a resounding, “No.”
The final question of the night came from a female doctoral student, who asked about the hashtags #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter. Garza said these arrive as a counter-argument to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. She encouraged people to stir things up by saying, “You can tell everybody that the founder said ‘All lives matter!’”
Garza stated that while she does indeed believe that all lives matter, that is not the world we live in. She said that it was not possible in a world where “the average life expectancy of a black trans woman is 35.”
Garza and Tometi also used the “crabs in a bucket” analogy, stating that people can talk about them all they want, but they forget that the bucket is not a crab’s natural habitat.
During the same response, Garza gave her take on what she believes would end racism, “It’s gonna take white people, who benefit from this system of white supremacy, to stand up and say, ‘We’re not gonna take it anymore.’”
The event was sponsored by the MSA/GPC Department of Student Activities, Student Life, Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, and the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative. The talk was hosted by the Missouri School of Journalism’s Professor Cristina Mislan.
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