Dr. Barbara Ransby dives into Black feminist politics within Black Lives Matter movement
Black lives matter.
Three short words that have sparked a simmering blaze of social controversy across the United States throughout the past five years.
Three short words that have ignited a contemporary era of awareness and fiery advocacy for a myriad of oppressed individuals.
Three short words that have dampened the unrelenting flames of a substantial fragment of the Black populace – women.
Dr. Barbara Ransby, the award-winning author of “Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century,” pinpointed the chronic mantle of Black women within the history, composition and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement during her public seminar Monday night in Symons Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park.
After providing thorough background information about herself as a multifaceted professor and social activist and Black Lives Matter as an evolving organization that still contains plenty of space for improvement, Ransby ambled through five key reasons why the movement is so crucial to modern American society.
Those five key reasons were the prominent leadership of queer Black feminists, new types of victims drifting to the foreground, Black people directing the class struggle against the nation’s capitalist system, the blunt confrontation of the swelling post-racialist myth and the movement’s numerous variations from a conventional Black nationalist project.
“The idea that a Black family in the White House was the penultimate, when we have a million Black people under the control of the criminal justice system and millions more in poverty, is bordering on obscenity in my humble opinion,” Ransby said, pacing along the front of the sweltering, overcrowded classroom. “But it has been a movement that unequivocally rejects the charismatic male leadership model.”
As she approached the conclusion of her 45-minute presentation, Ransby stressed the gravity of maintaining an underlying degree of accountability in Black Lives Matter and other social movements and acknowledging the racial differences of every participant within a coalition.
Colorblindness simply doesn’t exist.
“Talking about the need to have a coordinated intervention that sees coalition work as not being race neutral, that sees coalition work as not being colorblind and just all getting along, is the kind of coalition work that we need,” Ransby said, her hands gesturing through the air. “We need to dig in, talk about our differences and inequalities, find some principles of common ground, struggle through and not settle for coalitions of convenience.”
Before she piloted a lengthy question-and-answer session with the diverse gathering of students, professors and fellow activists, Ransby read the entire epilogue of her novel to give them a miniature sample of her writing flavor.
Because racism isn’t the solitary inferno of systematic oppression within the country, the method of escape is more labyrinthine than hustling to make Black lives matter.
The method of escape is hustling to make all Black lives matter.
“When Black brunch protesters strolled into fancy eateries and began to impolitely talk about Black death, breaking the bubble and denial that shrouds the privileged, we all felt a little bit freer,” Ransby said, her fingers dancing across the edges of her ebony and crimson book. “When you refuse to be Al Sharpton’s protégés or political accessories, or the human background to his press conferences, we knew we were a little bit freer. When Bree Newsome climbed up a South Carolina flagpole and yanked down that Confederate flag, we felt a little freer.”