It is not, Black Lives Matter, but, Black People Matter. You see, I am a Black woman. I am more than just a thing with “life". I believe that shifting the language from “lives” to “people” is paramount. Our legacy of slavery painted us as beast of burden that lacked the ability to feel, to reason and to comprehend.
So, Black life, or a Black body possessing life, was exactly what a slave-owner wanted to purchase. A lively, spry, relatively healthy body fit for work or suitable for child-bearing. It is imperative that we shift this language. The use of “Lives” shrouds us in a vaguely objectified state. Repeatedly chanting “Black-Lives-Matter” reinforces this objectification. The use of “People” forces everyone to bring us into that realm of universal sameness—which has been doggedly resisted by many people who have rested on the notion that black skin hid a black heart and denoted an inferior being. “Black People Matter” to themselves and to this world. A part of dismantling these ingrained notions of supremacy must include understanding the power of language and how words shape belief.