If we are to reflect upon the issue of the Black Lives-White Lives- Blue Lives or Whomever-Lives Matter, as it became an explosive one in an aftermath of the unfortunate George Floyd case, how might we see the "movement" today, both in the United States and quite insignificantly in Malaysia, as to how Malaysians in the academic and media circles responded? Below are our thoughts. In this brief joint opinion piece, we explore a contradiction.
Complexity of Slavery
As we are aware that the Black Lives Matter movement, though a complex matter ideologically, is conceptually a noble one: to have Americans be aware of the hundreds of years of injustice done to African-Americans, primarily, through slavery the manifestations of the institution in more complex and advanced forms today. From the day the first shipment of slaves was brought from Africa more than 300 years ago, through the Atlantic Slave trade and earlier, through slavery practiced even more widely by the Arab-Muslims, to the use of these human utilities (sold by African tribal leaders themselves) in plantations of the South, to the institutionalization of Jim Crow Laws, to the Civil, War, the Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, to the institutionalization of Jim Crow Laws, to Plessey vs. Ferguson, to the overturning of it through Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama to more developments that attempt to liberate those enslaved mentally hence, to the LA Riots after the murder of Rodney King, to the Obama presidential ascendency, and today the post-George Floyd Affair – these frame the issue of resistance and revolution versus the American response to it.
But is the issue all Black and White today? What is happening to the debate set in the summer when the Black Lives Matter movement started, as both a noble message of liberation and a violent-burning down-the-house-and-cities-at-night program allegedly orchestrated by "trained Marxist leaders" of the BLM gang members?
Is it a simple issue?
We feel that there is a depthlessness in how we see the BLM-ALM issue, especially when viewed from outside the United States. In Malaysia, social scientists with their "wokeism" and the impulse and franticness to look "radical" "Freirian" "liberatory", or even "on-the-side-of-the masses" without understanding the totality and complexity of matters. The idea of "transcultural wokeism" leads to intellectually unhealthy nurturing of "cancel-culture" and banning of this and that. This has been reinforced by social media where a person has the option to block people they don't like, publishers leaning towards wokeist ideology and academic gangs of shallow theorists think that they have the power to demean critics of the BLM movement. In institutions and public schools today, there is a raging debate whether to teach or not to teach Critical Race Theory, a contentious idea what educationists say is a racist ideology and should be halted.
We need to be aware that recent revelation concerning the leaders of the BLM movement cohort hijacked this narrative capitalizing on "white privilege" and guilt for their scam. This anti-racist movement ironically became anti-Asian and Anti-Semitic. The idea of whiteness and coloredness as well as blackness, when analyzed from a semiotic and socio-psychological point of view – ideas about race and skin color as construction of perception – remains problematic as a reason to mount the agenda of hate for persons of this and that skin color.
Ideas such as "all lives matter," "all opinions valued" and "all men and women are created equal," as educators we subscribe to, and as many believe what religion such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism teaches us, do not apply to these "wokes." But after three years of the BLM issue, we see the hypocrisy coming out with the "Buy Large Mansion" exposure, for the personal gains of the "trained-Marxists" founders. The funds that are supposed to be used entirely for the Black community go to the founders seeking glamour and wishing to live the lives of gangsta rappers who gained fame and fortune. The issue of misuse of funds is now debasing the original (noble) intention of seeking racial justice, although this itself, in multicultural-immigrant-nation America is a complex issue.
And thus, what would the Malaysian woke or "academic Talibans" (those passionate about cancel culture and amputating opinions) say about this contradiction between Black Lives Matter and "Buy Large Mansions"? In the US today, the BLM leaders are facing the wrath of the Black community who feel betrayed. Those who supported the Summer of BLM's "revolution of the proletariat" are beginning to question where actually their multi-million-dollar donations went.
On a more conceptual aspect, it was ironic to see these woke groups demanding a revision of history, they themselves didn't understand. One example of this is how some LBGT groups were supporting Hamas which is anti-LBGT. The words of black rights heroes like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were criticized and any conservative black person who the mob didn't agree with was labeled as someone with "white privilege wrapped in black skin"
After the death of George Floyd, the liberal legacy media took up the woke cause along with a number of corporations and turned wokeism into an unquestionable "mainstream" political philosophy. A philosophy that could not be questioned.
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