What do you mean by "Legalize Blackness"?

What do you mean by "Legalize Blackness"?

It is aspects of the black culture/blackness that are criminalized. From hair in the military and in schools being grounds for suspension, being sent home etc, to the way in which we walk or carry ourselves being grounds for suspicion by law enforcement. Not to mention how many bruised, battered, or dead black bodies we see on the TV screen or a news feed to the point that it has been normalized.

The targeting of black folks by police dates back to the earliest forms of law enforcement. Originated from slave patrols, and strengthened by the later development of things like vagrancy laws wherein blacks were convicted for minor infractions and subjected to a system known as convict leasing, sundown laws in which case blacks were taken to jail if they were in certain areas of town after a certain hour, etc. After the collapse of slavery and damnification if convict leasing in the south they NEEDED a way to continue free (slave) labor and the growth of privatized prisons proved the solution.

Fast forward to today where the majority of prisons are privatized and literally make money the more people they put behind bars. So now we have the mass incarceration of black (and brown) people. 

13th-infographic                                       Image source: Ki’ara Montgomery


Legalize Blackness is a call to action to stop criminalizing the aspects of what make up blackness (ie natural hair) or are commonly attributed to it (ie circumstance, environment, etc). And further, a push to recognize the the core meaning and root development of a many of the “laws” that claim black lives and bodies today.

On the surface, this is what we are getting at with “Legalize Blackness”.

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