When All Lives Matter at an HBCU

Why can’t ‘Birth of a Nation’ just come out in peace?

Why can’t ‘Birth of a Nation’ just come out in peace?

Andrew F. Mitchell is Mr. Morgan State University, and has set East Baltimore and the national HBCU community on fire with his recent Instagram post, extolling his support of the ‘All Lives Matter’ movement.

Sometimes there just isn’t a think piece you can write to explain it in a deeper context. Sometimes, it just is what it is.

Of course it is countercultural. It is obviously antithetical to the notion of this historically black colleges, which exist in large part because of the majority of time spent by black lives being classified in contexts of property and financial assets.

So we’re all messed up today because of our youth, and an HBCU campus leader no less, is siding with a perspective commonly born out of the conservative response to the call for racial justice. That call, typically yielded from older white men who have little patience for notions of injustice from complaining black folks who already get too much in this country, is the one carefully coded to translate as ‘color shouldn’t matter.’

But it does. The data show it, black people feel it, and the deaths make it cold to the touch. So even when a black student says it, and potentially believes it beyond the strategic exchange of race trolling for hits, it invites the dialog on just how divided we are not as a country, but as a people.

And don’t get me wrong, Mr. Morgan State has every right to say ‘All Lives Matter,’ as does this guy.

Or this guy:

The difference: Mark Burns got paid and Aaron McGruder got paid to animate the extreme versions of black self-hatred. Mr. Morgan State, for all we know, actually believes it beyond compensation. But that isn’t what really needs to be addressed.

The bigger point — do we honestly believe that one, two, 500 examples of black folks thinking with rich, white male ideology is enough to derail an entire ideal of racial justice? Is this opinion deep enough, nuanced enough, or from a reputable-enough voice that it matches even an ounce of the theory built over centuries of racial oppression, discrimination, and tireless opposition of the same?

Hath not Beyoncè delivered unto the world ‘Boy, bye’ for no reason?

Black folks are allowed to think differently, allowed to be conservative and allowed to be extremist on the views of racial progress — and that goes for black militants as well. But we should not confuse the ability to broadcast a perspective with the amount of value it holds for or against an entire movement.

Lest we forget the theology of Sweet Brown.