Is the upcoming Clown Lives Matter march planned for October 15 in Tucson cute, useful, or simply racist? After all, like other catchphrases created in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, such as All Lives Matter and White Lives Matter, it seems to trivialize and denigrate the importance and goals of the Black Lives Matter movement.
As reported by NBC News, all across the continent, from South Carolina to the West Coast – and even into Canada – “witnesses” have recently been reporting menacing clowns either frightening or threatening people – mostly children. In some cases there were actually individuals dressed up as clowns in what they apparently think is a hilarious practical joke, but for the most part this is all just hoaxes or overactive imaginations.
Interestingly, people have reacted to it as though it is a real thing. Across the globe and across the internet, creepy clowns have become the new Pokémon. People see them everywhere – whether they’re there or not. Worse, some people have a problem differentiating fantasy from reality and are actually suggesting that real clowns are serial killers, rapists, etc.
As NBC News points out, even Stephen King – the creator of one of the most terrifying clowns of all time – tweeted that everybody should just chill out. Along with this, CBS News reports that a group of clowns and clown supporters decided it would be a good idea to organize an event where they tried to show that clowns – the real ones rather than the imaginary ones – are not menacing monsters.
In itself, the concept behind Clown Lives Matter isn’t a bad one. They are trying to make it clear that the ridiculous stereotypes people have about clowns are just that – ridiculous. But the question is whether the term they chose to use, Clown Lives Matter, is really the most appropriate one for the purpose.
The appropriation of Black Lives Matter for the purpose of dealing with such a trivial problem in itself trivializes and minimizes the racial divide that still exists – quite obviously – in the United States. Given that, it could reasonably be argued that the term Clown Lives Matter is in fact racist.
In the past, people wanting to insult or minimize the Black Lives Matter movement – also known as BLM – have reconfigured the phrase to their own purposes. Thus, we get All Lives Matter – which is bad but not too bad – and White Lives Matter – which is precisely as bad as it sounds.
Not long ago a restaurant chain decided it would be amusing to have a promotion called Black Olives Matter. Some suggest that people are being overly sensitive and politically correct when objecting to things like this.
But the problem is that the same people who object to the term Black Lives Matter – and who also feel that the term Clown Lives Matter really isn’t any different and causes no harm – don’t understand the fundamental difference between even Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.
The point of the Black Lives Matter movement is to make clear the current imbalance that exists in how black people in the United States are treated by law enforcement officers and to address such discriminatory practices. Replying that All Lives Matter or that Clown Lives Matter is essentially the same as saying that the complaints that black people have about mistreatment by law enforcement are exaggerated.
It’s not easy for people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Everyone has their own inherent stereotypes and prejudices. But trivializing other people’s concerns, such as by parodying the Black Lives Matter movement with Clown Lives Matter, certainly isn’t the best way to address our nation’s biases.
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]