//Time for White Allies to Move Past Perfunctory Activism
Black Lives Matter Minorities Missouri Tennessee White Allies

Time for White Allies to Move Past Perfunctory Activism

One local chapter of Black Lives Matter tells white allies to put up or shut up.

by Brandon Tensley

(Pacific Standard) – “It is white America who invited them in, and it is white America who has the responsibility to see them out.”

That was Black Lives Matter Nashville, offering a statement about why the group decided not to participate in counter-protests against two “White Lives Matter” rallies held in Tennessee last Saturday, one in Shelbyville and the other in Murfreesboro. In a sense, it might be easy to wave aside the two rallies as insignificant, at least on optics: In both instances, the counter-protesters’ numbers trounced those of the white supremacists, and the day ended without a devastating repeat of the tragedy that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. Rather than roil the towns, the rallies didn’t do much more than flash and fizzle, suggesting: See, racists have no place here.

But don’t they? As BLM Nashville pointed out, while counter-protests are important, it’s equally important for “any counter-protest … to discuss the myriad ways black people are disproportionately and negatively impacted by the systemic policies that undergird this country.” The group’s statement is a needful check against platitudinous activism with a blinkered focus on the needs-no-explanation bigotry parading through the streets: A true counter-protest would also decry less-visible forms of racism.

Most important, BLM Nashville added that these rallies are “times for white people to step up.”

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