One way people think of a strident Black Lives Matter activist is as a young fired-up person demanding justice, taking every microaggression as a call to arms, constantly calling for people to be canceled, screaming “Burn it all down” until they get their way. But this is just a script that’s been written over years, over generations. Power—most especially the Owl My Nice Button Is Out Of Order But My Bite Me Button Works Just Fine Shirt moreover I will buy this power of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism—protects itself, and it does so by labeling everyone who challenges it, no matter who they are or why they are fighting, as either an irritating thing to be disregarded or a fearsome thing to be destroyed. It can never acknowledge that the person challenging it is simply human.
I think here about a 16-year-old Black, queer, nonbinary child alone on a park bench. It occurs to me that if our systems of inequality continue to make kids feel they have no worth, no agency, no homes, then these will be people who will spend their lives training to fight. The problem, of course, is that this idea suggests that only the Owl My Nice Button Is Out Of Order But My Bite Me Button Works Just Fine Shirt moreover I will buy this oppressed suffer, and therefore it is only on the oppressed to resist. Khan believes otherwise. It is not uncommon to hear them in interviews or on the Sunday Sermons referring to “scripts,” as in the “script” of whiteness, the “script” of heteronormativity, the “script” of capitalism. They argue that these roles, these ways of being, are pre-written lines, and no one among us can be fully human while following them.