BLM Masks at Archmere: “Disappointed”


Xavier Slaughter

Goodmorning. Some of you guys know me pretty well, but for those of you who don’t, my name is Xavier Slaughter, and I’m a junior here at Archmere Academy. I’m here because I just wanted to take a few minutes at the start of this meeting to tell you guys about how I feel about “black lives matter” from the perspective of a black teenager in the United States.

In this speech, I’d like to address the only genuine reason we are given for not being allowed to wear the BLM mask; that it intertwines political agendas with education. Now, I know some of you weren’t here for the first meeting, so let me reiterate a point that I made at our first meeting. Listen up.

The Black Lives Matter organization and the Black Lives Matter Slogan are NOT the same thing and should NOT always be directly linked to each other. The slogan was around long before the political organization was even thought of, so it’s extremely unfair to connect the two concepts together. The slogan originated after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in cold blood in February of 2012. The organization, on the other hand? It was formed more than a year later in July of 2013. For more than a year, the slogan existed by itself without an organization using its name. The slogan is what we want to wear on our face masks. We aren’t wearing BLM to represent a political organization. Just because the slogan is used by the organization, DOESN’T mean that the organization and the slogan are one and the same. Think of it like a school’s mascot, the auk for example. At Archmere, the Auk represents Archmere. However, when they were alive in the North Atlantic, the auk and Archmere weren’t directly related at all. The Auk was an auk. Simple as that. It had no correlation with Archmere until Archmere started using it as a mascot. In a similar way, the Black Lives Matter Slogan might represent the organization, but in a vacuum, the two aren’t directly related. They just bare common representation. I hope that made sense. Again, we aren’t representing a political organization when we’re wearing BLM.

No. Let me tell you why we’re wearing BLM.

We wear BLM because, for the better part of the last 400 years, black lives HAVEN’T mattered in this country.

The country we built as a race from the ground up.

We wear BLM because we’re tired of seeing our race get beaten/killed in large numbers.

We wear BLM because we’re tired of being told no.

No, you can’t be a free man in this country.

No, you can’t go in the front of that bus.

No, you can’t drink from that fountain.

No, you can’t buy a house in that neighborhood.

No, you can’t have a fair trial.

No, you aren’t allowed to breathe right now.

No, Breonna Taylor’s killers won’t be held accountable.

No, You can’t wear a BLM mask at Archmere Academy.

I think I can speak for most of the black students here when I say we’re tired of being told no. I know some of you might be thinking “why is this kid up here making such a big deal out of a cheap piece of cloth like a drama queen?”

Well, to whoever thinks that, as Mekhi said last week,

“This isn’t a piece of cloth to us anymore. This is a symbol of our humanity. A symbol that shows we’re tired of constant oppression, constant mistreatment, constant negation. We just want to show that we’re human too. But it appears that might be a bit too much to ask here at Archmere Academy. A bit too much to ask here in America. Land of the free, home of the brave”.

For a country and community that prides itself on freedom of expression and diversity, I can’t help but feel