Black Lives Matter neither follows in the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nor El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X).
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Obviously Black lives matter, isn’t that sad. I think that it should depress people that we have to remind them that Black lives matter.
~ Soledad O’Brien
While Soledad’s O’Brien’s point is very valid, if explored deeper then you come to see that “Black Lives Matter” represents adopting a corporatist mindset. As Douglas Rushkoff writes in Life Inc, it represents succumbing…
to an ideology that has the same intellectual underpinnings and assumptions about human nature as—dare we say it—mid-twentieth-century fascism…. a culture, economy, and belief system that places market priorities above life itself.
We cannot market our way out of corporatism. While joining a big cause or a national political campaign may feel good for a moment, it can easily turn immediate, local, and actionable problems into great big abstract ones. The pollution leaching out of the local factory is hard to confront directly, and easier to address instead as part of a bigger environmental movement. Racism downtown can be addressed more painlessly by donating to a black candidate or a scholarship fund online. Carbon offsets, through which a person can pay an online company to counteract the effects of his air travel or air-conditioning, provide a virtual path to personal virtue–and a way for frequent fliers to recontextualize their actions right on their blogs for all to see.
So instead of doing something actionable that could possibly lead to real change, the preference is to take symbolic actions that doesn’t actually challenge the status quo.
Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Habit 1: Be Proactive:
Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern–things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive.
He [George Fredrickson author of White Supremacy] concludes, I think plausibly, that the white supremacy in the United States was even more extreme and savage than in South Africa.
~ Noam Chomsky
On October 10, 2007, Radiohead released In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-want download. This pay-what-you-want release was the first for a major act. The lead singer and principal songwriter for Radiohead, Thom Yorke did an interview with The Guardian:
Having thought they were subverting the corporate music industry with In Rainbows, he now fears they were inadvertently playing into the hands of Apple and Google and the rest. “They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me…. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”
Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter.
In a CNN article, Douglas Rushkoff wrote about Facebook:
Facebook does not exist to help us make friends, but to turn our network of connections, brand preferences and activities over time — our “social graphs” — into money for others.
And in a Forbes article, Michael Thomsen wrote about Google in regard to diversity:
The lack of diversity at Google has… to do with the company’s core structure, which would remain bluntly antagonistic toward behavioral and political diversity….[Google’s] PageRank obscures diversity, burying the full and often incoherent spectrum of possible answers to a question inside a nested sequence of mathematical prejudices. Ironically, PageRank worked far better than any other search technology before it, making Google’s business of improving search a matter of cultivating dramatically persuasive prejudices. People wanted answers, not protrusions of debate and uncertainty, and Google made money creating an artificial frame to give it to them.
As Brittney Cooper wrote in Salon:
Pharrell, for example, who donned a hoodie and put his hands up alongside his dancers during his performance of his blockbuster hit “Happy,” only received about $25,000 in total compensation for his song from Pandora, even though it was played over 43 million times. With streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and Songza, there is little incentive to buy albums, unless like me, you buy the albums of artists you want to support on principle. But capitalism is not much in the way of principles.