Dear white feminists: You don’t own the Black Lives Matter movement

illustration+by+Sarah+Hofstedt
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Dear white feminists: You don’t own the Black Lives Matter movement

illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

Destiny Nadeau

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The past six years have been inundated with two pivotal movements, one of which has shed light on the systemic abuse of black citizens in America and the other which has called attention to an appalling amount of sexual assault in the workplace.

Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem was one of the many highlighting moments that accentuated the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a public display during a 2016 NFL game, Kaepernick — who risked and then lost his entire career — chose to use his platform to further the discussion of police brutality against black Americans.

Accompanying this topic, the #MeToo movement spread virally throughout social media in October of 2017, demonstrating the prevalence of sexual harassment, especially in the workplace.

The most recent issue that has been brought to light in this movement is the latest confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was publicly accused by three women of sexual harassment and attempted rape.

Both movements are easily identifiable as an era within themselves. Each has called attention to issues that have continuously been swept under the rug due to society’s inability and reluctance to address the problems that have plagued this country for centuries.

Now, following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, there has been an influx of white feminists on social media demanding that all women kneel during the next national anthem to highlight the #MeToo movement.

However, this particular call to action is an attempt to hijack a movement that has already been in place since 2013. It is unfair of white feminists to reclaim something that has never belonged to them to bring attention to their problems. The members of the Black Lives Matter movement is taking a stand against a country that has never respected them.

Asking women to kneel during the national anthem when they have never shown black Americans the same respect or stood behind the Black Lives Matter movement is a disgraceful act of appropriation and is only one step away from completely erasing an entire movement. A movement that has worked so hard to be heard. A movement that has tried so hard for equal rights. A movement that has yet to be taken seriously by the government and by society.

Kneeling during the national anthem is much more than taking a stance against a country that does not respect you. Kneeling during the national anthem belongs solely to the Black Lives Matter movement and should not, under any circumstances, be taken out of context and twisted to define an issue that will no longer hold relevance to the original problem.

Kneeling during the national anthem is and will always be associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The blatant disrespect of white feminists by requesting women to kneel during the national anthem is another example of systemic oppression against black Americans. Stealing a defining moment from an entire movement just further proves the complete disrespect America holds for its black citizens — and enough is enough.

White feminists, do not try to claim something you never fought for. Do not dismiss the problems of the Black Lives Matter movement and then try to steal their defining moment as your own. They are fighting for an issue that has and continues to silence them, just as you are fighting for an issue that has and continues to silence you. There is no reason to take from someone else. Both issues deserve a voice, and both problems will change the world.