Stop the sale of Blue Lives Matter t-shirts
A tweet the Port Hope Police Service sent last week announced that the Police Association would be selling T-shirts bearing the words "Blue Lives Matter."
This is an appropriation of #BlackLivesMatter, a social movement and hashtag based in the US, which aims to make the racist circumstances faced by Black people more visible.
The young, queer, female organizers of the movement make it clear on their website that by fore-fronting the unique challenges encountered by Black Americans, they are not implying that any other lives are, by comparison, less valuable.
It's a movement whose guiding principles include queer affirmation, intergenerational participation, loving engagement, empathy and restorative justice.
#BlackLivesMatter is NOT a threat to police.
"#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important–it means that Black lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on Black lives, we understand that when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide reaching and transformative for society as a whole." — http://blacklivesmatter.com/herstory/
By coopting this language, the Port Hope Police Association is creating a harmful us versus them dynamic (or if you will, Black versus "Blue"), and it is ignoring the issue of race — a privilege that the white majority of Port Hope's officers live with.
The tweet has been removed, but this is not enough. The t-shirts remain for sale.
In a rural, Canadian municipality, the occasion to embrace diversity and reject oppression doesn't offer itself often. Now is the time for Port Hope to show that it is a welcoming, open town that celebrates diversity.
Now is the time for the Port Hope Police Association to stop the sale of these offensive T-shirts, and to offer an apology to the residents of this municipality.
- Port Hope Police Association
Det Const Matthew Lawrence
- Port Hope Police Service
Stop the sale of Blue Lives Matter t-shirts — and apologize
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