#CatLivesMatter is Some Appropriative BS


My most recent piece is now up on Al Jazeera America.

In it I discuss the online reaction to the killing of Cecil the Lion and why doxxing must be rejected by online activists as an act of terror and harassment, not one of peaceful protest.

However, I also wanted to point your eyes in towards this discussion:

“Unlike Cecil, Sandra Bland wasn’t afforded the universal support of the American people,” [Samia Shoaib, a writer for the U.K.’s Independent] wrote.

“It’s easier to get behind a lion than a human being – especially, apparently, a black human being in America.”

[Ijeoma] Oluo and Shoaib’s words came just days after an Ottawa mural paying tribute to [Sandra] Bland was found defaced with the words, “all lives matter.”

The slogan referred to Black Lives Matter, an international movement that raises awareness of “all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.”

“The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation,” its website says.

I’ve been seeing people unironically using the hashtag #CatLivesMatter

It’s pretty sad that people feel more comfortable affirming the lives of African animals than they do the lives of black people.

It’s pretty sad when we would rather form a mob to serve vigilante justice to a poacher than demand that our police force stop acting like vigilantes when they interact with black people.

#CatLivesMatter is even worse than #AllLivesMatter because the people who use it can’t even hide behind some flimsy justification of universalism or kumbaya colorblind BS.

Saying #CatLivesMatter is saying “not only do we not care about racism, we will actively co-opt your language to talk about something we care about more: pretty animals that we have probably never seen outside of a zoo.  Also, we don’t actually care enough about these animals to change our lifestyle in a meaningful way so as to protect their habitat or to fund their preservation.  We just don’t like hearing about how they get shot to death.  Hearing about how black people get shot to death by the police is no big deal though.  They were probably mouthing off or smoked marijuana once in their life or something.”

I’m sad about Cecil too.  But we shouldn’t use him to justify indulging in our worst impulses.  And we shouldn’t use him to avoid thinking about important issues happening in our own country.


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