Not Your Mama’s Civil Rights Movement | Rachel West | TEDxNorthCentralCollege

Not Your Mama’s Civil Rights Movement | Rachel West | TEDxNorthCentralCollege

Translator: Rosalind Eccles
Reviewer: Denise RQ I’ll begin with a story. Fall term – I’m walking home
from my African-American History class, and I see this guy, and he’s walking
these two cute little black pugs, and I don’t have a filter,
so, I lean down, and I say, “Aww, black pugs matter, don’t they?” (Laughter) I think it’s hilarious. (Laughter) This guy immediately goes, “Oh, they’re
not, like, ‘Black Lives Matter’ pugs, they’re more like ‘Civil Rights’ pugs. They’re good boys, they’re nice.” Funny? Yes.
Awkward? Even more. Because I’ve heard previously
about people comparing the Black Lives Matter movement
to the Civil Rights Movement, but are people really
holding one over the other? So I decided to dig deeper. I found Dr Fredrick C. Harris
at Columbia University, who explained that in the last half-century all of Black activism
has been compared to the 1960s, which are called the glorious days
of Black history, but this comparison is nostalgic at best. However, I found a Gallup poll
in August of 2015 that said 76% of Americans believe that the Black Lives Matter movement
is ineffective, because it’s too violent
compared to the Civil Rights Movement. At this point, I’m thinking, “Wow,
America’s just one giant struggle bus,” because we’re just struggling
to understand that you cannot place the expectations
of the Civil Rights Movement on the Black Lives Matter movement; they’re two completely
different movements. The Civil Rights Movement fixed
things like de jure racism – racism by law, segregation – but left de facto racism
– racism for racism’s sake – wide open, and if we keep comparing those two,
we won’t have change, we will not be able
to change those comments. So, you may be thinking,
“OK, we compare, so what?” Well, it’s like comparing
apples to oranges, and because of it,
our efforts are not fruitful. Like apples and oranges,
they’re both fruit, but if I want an apple pie,
I’m going to expect an apple pie. The Black Lives Matter movement
and the Civil Rights Movement have ultimately the same goal, but they’re two
completely different fights. And this comparison is lethal. In the year of 2015, 1,134 deaths occurred of young, Black, and unarmed individuals. [Unarmed] Yet, according to
that aforementioned Gallup poll, 46% of America believe
Black civil rights are no longer an issue because it was fixed already
by the Civil Rights Movement. [IT WAS FIXED ALREADY] But there’s a way to solve this. Patrisse Cullors, in a personal
interview, once told me that we compare our Black history
like a Spotify playlist: exchanging our nonviolent rhetoric instead of really thinking about things
like the Freedom Riders. However, our activism has to be constant. If you want to be an advocate,
please come find me at any time, I have business cards available for you that have starting points
about the Black Lives Matter movement, places where you can find out
how to join a local Chapter, and you can even email me if you don’t feel comfortable
engaging in a dialogue with your friends, because everyone
deserves a safe place to talk. And it’s important
that we all are part of this, because this is not a Black problem. This is our problem. And just because this
is no longer a problem does not mean that fight is over. So, I hope I’ve inspired you to join
the Black Lives Matter movement or change the way you think
about comparing the two, because it is definitely not
your mama’s Civil Rights Movement. (Applause)


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