Symbowled Over

Right on cue, the bite of the backlash has nipped back at Beyoncé’s stacked heel boots in the wake of her Superbowl performance. As unfortunate as the ignorance is unsurprising, the result of the performance is equivalently significant—and exactly what was intended.

If exasperation and outrage are the soil in which revolution plants its seeds, spectacle—from marches to halftime shows—is the fertilizer that nourishes its growth. The sturdy-stalked sunflowers that result, heads steadfast to the sun, draw the attention of the bees, who revel in the production and then go off to spread the nectar and the word.

In the avoidance of giving attention where its not due, the reactions to Formation from this girl, among others, demonstrate a saddening dearth of insensitive, negligent, and misguided behavior:

The personal decision to muster more arms to battle a symbolic costume purposefully worn to raise attention about a grave issue than to take on the issue itself negates and belittles the experience of those who have suffered and continue to suffer.

Derogatorily tacking on the word “more,” willfully ignores and distorts the premise of the Black Lives Matter movement from one that maintains not that black lives matter more than white or other lives, but that socially and politically they matter more than they’ve been historically and often are presently valued.

Disregarding the irony, criticizing the use of privilege and attention to further an agenda is so ignorant as to be humorous. In the realm of politics and societal morality, especially, practice doesn’t change because an individual muses to himself that things should be different. The greater group mentality must shift, requiring development, interpretation, and attention of ideas.

Privilege—be it preceded by white, malecelebrity, financial, educational, etc—is inherently a vehicle to drive that dissemination. The fact that this is true doesn’t make it an escape claus to excuse ignorant or sloppy use of the advantage.  Let’s privilege safely (even taking a page or two out of the a teen zine).


Photo: El Periodico


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