Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s book “Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation” explores how the Black Lives Matter (BLM) began, its history, and how it came to shape the black liberation movement. It also features the role that neoliberalists played in the development of the BLM. Although most people would think the movement began recently, it has been there for some time now and can be traced back to such activists as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. It also forecasts the potential gains that the BLM can achieve and its role in enhancing equality not only in the American society but the world at large. In Chapter 7 of the book, the author explores the BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.
Taylor expresses her agitation for the racial discrimination that black people are facing as well as the need for the American society to have racial harmony. She agitates for an American culture that allows both white and black American citizens to interact and live together as brothers and sisters. Her book acts as a voice of awakening for the black American citizens whom she urges to come together and fight for their freedom and liberty. It encourages the black Americans to fight for justice and their freedom through non-violence means. Her speech was and still remains an inspiration to most Americans if not the African American community.
The text advocates not only for equal rights but also for the Declaration of Independence. It highlights that the goal of the Black Lives Matter movement is to fight against economic exploitation and inequality. In one of the extracts in text, Taylor says “The struggle for Black liberation, then, is not an abstract idea molded in isolation from the wider phenomenon of economic exploitation and inequality” (2016, p. 279). Here, the author expresses her displeasure with how the Declaration of Independence had provided a glimpse of hope of equality. However, only the White Americans seem are the ones benefiting from the declaration and the black people remaining alienated and segregated. Basically, the first half of the speech portrays a picture of racial injustice and inequality in the American society and calls for action to be taken in order to ensure these injustices are addressed. She argues that like the White Americans, the African Americans equally deserve the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
The Black Lives Matter movement seeks to give hope to the African American people that one day they will be treated with respect, live in harmony and peace. They will interact with their fellow White American countrymen and women freely. This is seen in the following quote: “This assumption rests on the mistaken idea that the working class is white and make, and therefore incapable of taking up issues of race, class, and gender” (Taylor, 2016, p. 307). Here, Taylor’s text warns the African Americans that this will not come without a struggle and that it’s not only about voicing their grievance. She argues that they should continue with the protest and revolt until the bright day of justice emerges. It also cautions the African American people not to engage in violence when seeking their freedom and justice.
According to Taylor (2016), everyone should take responsibility for fighting against racism. This means that individuals should make a step of being personally liable for ending racism. One of the ways of being accountable is by not discriminating against any person on basis of their color, race, or ethnic identity. In one of the lines, Taylor says “Black liberation is bound up with the project of human liberation and social transformation” (Taylor, 2016, p. 279). Although there are laws on anti-Black racism and anti-oppressive practice, it will take African Americans to fight for their rights for equality in the American society. Laws are there to only guide individuals on what to do and what not to do. However, the greatest responsibility lies in individuals themselves to uphold the highest possible etiquette to embrace one another and understand and appreciate people from other races.
Besides, the text highlights how black workers are the most discriminated among the African American population. According to Taylor (2016), the Black Lives Matter Movement is significant in ensuring that a worker is not biased to any individual of a different background than theirs. She suggests that if workers are able to understand that it is their responsibility to ensure they fight against racism, they will not find it hard to work with people of color and other races. Naturally, individuals are all biased to people who are not of their own races or cultures as seen in the following lines: “It’s not as if white workers can simply choose not to ‘ally’ with Black workers to no peril of their own” (Taylor, 2016, p. 305). At times, people find themselves being racists without intending to do so. People can be racially biased especially when dealing with individuals that are of another color, culture, and religion.
In summary, the Black Lives Matter movement plays a vital role in the understanding anti-Black racism, and anti-oppressive practice. It explores the inequalities that people of color face and acts as a plight for their rights. Taylor’s book highlights the history of the BLM movement, the role it has played in advancing Black Liberation and the future of the movement in curbing racial discrimination.
Taylor, K. (2016). From #BlackLivesMatter to Black liberation. Haymarket Books.