Dear Isaiah Mitchell, and anyone who agrees with him: Black lives matter.
There’s so much to correct, but I’ll begin with the basics, the basics of being a human being. While it seems that “raging liberals” or “angry progressives” are the most upset with this article, above the labels, above left and right, it’s human beings that are upset with this article.
To say that “for their own self-assurance [people who marched on MLK Jr. Day], make a carnival out of a struggle,” is an attempt to dismantle civil rights history and its importance.
Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown Jr. and Trayvon Martin are only a few of the black lives that have been lost, and it wasn’t because they made a “carnival out of a struggle.” It was because racism exists, because not everyone accepts that black lives matter too.
Furthermore, Mitchell mentioned that progressives weren’t effective in their social movements because progressives weren’t “earnestly seeking practical solutions.” As if writing an article on undermining black lives and denouncing their importance is a “practical solution.”
Furthermore, I’m not quite sure why Mitchell would be upset if the march was to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and his achievements. It wasn’t a “protest” march necessarily, although Mitchell’s argument is proof we need more of those too. It was a march that celebrated the achievements of MLK, as well as movements that preceded him.
Essentially, Mitchell is upset because people gathered to celebrate the civil rights achievements of black people, because we gathered to announce that black lives matter. Once again, acknowledging black lives as human lives is the absolute least anyone can do. These are further statements that were incredibly detrimental, hurtful and simply racist: “But I don’t have the time — sorry.” I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time to accept that black lives matter. I don’t have the time to be a basic human being with empathy.
“Racism was not a malleable term [for those who marched in dangerous Civil Rights movements] … it was tangible, painful and real.” Trayvon Martin being shot was tangible. It was painful for his family. Trayvon Martin was shot because he was black, it doesn’t get any more real than that.
Mitchell further insinuates that the following are the silly reasons people march today. Let me offer a translation: “Less than sensitive rhetoric” = racism. “Resistance to multiculturalism” = xenophobia and racism yet again. “Sorority girls wearing sombreros” = cultural appropriation and racism once more.
As a Mexican-American at Trinity University, and as a human being, I stand by my black brothers and sisters. I am disappointed, but I’m expecting better. Trinity University is above normalizing hate. Trinity University is about empathy, kindness and support of basic human rights for every human being. I can respect conservatism, but I will not accept racism that is passed as conservatism or a “political view.” Human rights are always right, and once more: Black Lives Matter.