MIA on Identity Politics

Yesterday, MIA irked many Twitteratis by sharing some unpopular opinions about Black Lives Matter and the limitation of dissent in the United States. In an interview with London’s Evening Standard magazine, she said:

It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It’s not a new thing to me — it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That’s a more interesting question. And you cannot ask it on a song that’s on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV programme, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back.

Interpreted generously, MIA is merely asking why Black Lives Matter has been widely accepted, at least insofar as the mainstream media has seen fit to embrace the term and even profit off of it, while the Muslim victims of the United States seem to be allowed no such privileges.

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