Steven Weissman

To the brave soul who stood up in a room full of hundreds of white people to politely ask Patti Smith what she thought about the Black Lives Matter movement, only to find that Patti Smith didn't actually know what that was. We both know that her oblivion and awkward all-lives-matter/life-is-beautiful response was well-intentioned, and that Patti Smith is not the enemy, etc. But I, silent bystander anonymous, probably wasn't the only person in the room who felt a crushed, sinking feeling in my chest to hear one of my heroes respond in such a way—just like how I felt when she and her band played "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" at the Moore last January. It was only further confirmation that white elders, even the "good" ones, haven't had to come face-to-face with the great losses that necessitate BLM. Your question and her answer reinforced why the BLM movement is an act of survival. Thank you.

—Anonymous



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